oppn parties Amazon: Avoid Hurting Sentiments in Selling Things

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  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
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  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
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  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
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  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Amazon: Avoid Hurting Sentiments in Selling Things

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About the Author

Sunil Garodia By our team of in-house writers.
What’s up with Amazon? Has it made it a habit to antagonize Indians? First it was the Indian flag themed doormats (of all things) and even before the controversy has died down, they have come up with flip-flops that feature Mahatma Gandhi.

When the doormats were spotted, MEA Sushma Swaraj threatened to cancel visas of Amazon staff in India if they were not immediately withdrawn. Amazon complied and issued an apology. But within days, the flip-flops were discovered.

Is there no policy on what can be put up for sale at the Amazon marketplace? Or does the US-based site think that anything goes? Obviously, the second is not true. So, if not everything can be put up for sale, then there must be a policy to decide what can be put up for sale.

Earlier, there have been liquor brands with pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses in Australia. There have been other instances of gross misuse of symbols that Indians hold in high esteem in other countries.

Hence, people who are responsible for passing the merchandise need to be sensitized. They need to be made aware with the fact that in certain countries, passions can be inflamed if certain symbols or pictures of icons are used inappropriately. Selling things which seem stylish to them can invite a huge backlash in such countries.

Amazon and others who use pictures of national symbols and iconic figures from other countries will be well advised to consult lawyers and social activists from those countries to verify whether they will hurt public sentiments there before allowing the use of such symbols.

But using the flag for doormats and Gandhi’s image on flip-flops should have been red-flagged by even the dumbest of supervisor. Maybe we expect people from other countries to be more knowledgeable about India than they really are.