Hindu wrath over Southern Comfort poster

While thousands of Muslims the world over legitimately protested unflattering caricatures of the prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper -- and thousands more used it as an excuse to pillage, loot and riot -- a controversy over the use of the Hindu goddess Durga was resolved in a much more civilized manner.

Durga was used in posters (seen here) displayed at the Balon Oriental Disco Bar in Athens, Greece, to promote Southern Comfort whiskey. Hindus throughout Europe have been up in arms about the frivolous and insulting nature of the posters and demanded satisfaction.

Durga is the Hindu manifestation of supreme beauty and deadly power. Her name is synonymous with the triumph of good over evil. The Indian community in Athens tried unsuccessfuly for three months to have the posters removed as well as sending letters to Brown-Forman, the American manufacturer of Southern Comfort.

Finally, a Southern Comfort representative reacted after an intervention by the Greek Embassy in Delhi. The Southern Comfort vice president for media communications sent a letter saying, in part, "On behalf of Brown-Forman and Southern Comfort, I extend our sincerest apologies for the inappropriate use of the image of the Hindu Goddess Durga. I also promise that we will do everything in our power to prevent any reoccurrence of this offence in the future.

"Brown-Forman's marketing, advertising and promotional policy prohibits the use of any religious imagery in the promotion of our beverage alcohol brands. The use of Goddess Durga was in violation of that policy. This violation occurred because of human error -- our employees responsible for approving the promotion simply didn't know that the image was, in fact, a Hindu deity. We have already taken steps to amend our review process to ensure we don't make this mistake again.

"The offensive use of the image of Durga was used in one bar in Athens, Greece. The image was removed on Monday night, February 13. We took this action within hours of first learning about the complaints against the use of the image. ... We will make every effort to ensure that the offending display is burned instead of thrown away."

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