On India’s Twitterverse, Boycott Amazon was trending after Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) took issue with a painting of Radha-Krishna on the e-commerce platform. The painting titled ‘As Passion Took Over’ depicts an intimate moment between Krishna and Radha in the quiet of the woods. The Bangalore-based decorative accessories seller, Inkologie put it up for sale on Amazon’s website. It was also available on Exoctic India’s website. In both cases, the item was listed under their Janmasthami sale options.
The right-wing Hindu organization, HJS, filed a memorandum at Bengaluru’s Subramanya Nagar police station, demanding action against the e-commerce bigwigs. After the furore, Amazon (and Exotic India) removed the painting from its pages, signalling a mini-triumph for the right-wing organization. They took to Twitter to announce their victory, of course in the name of “Hindu unity”:
“Hindu unity triumphs again! @amazonIN & @exoticindiaart quietly withdraw obscene painting of #ShriKrishna & Radhaji. But this is not enough. Both Amazon & Exotic India must tender unconditional apology & pledge not to hurt sentiments of Hindus ever again. #Boycott_Amazon”
Launching a Twitter offensive, the organization’s leaders took to their accounts to train their guns on the Seattle-headquartered multinational:
“Unscrupulous Amazon is constantly disrespecting the national and religious symbols & deities of India ! It is necessary that India should take an aggressive stance in order to ensure that @amazonIN does not engage in such activities ! #Boycott_Amazon #HappyJanmashtami,” writes Guruprasad Gowda, Karnataka State Coordinator of the HJS.
Mohan Jagrat, Karnataka State Spokesperson for the organization, demanded police take legal action against Amazon:
“Today Hindu Janajagruti Samiti submitted memorandum to Subramanya Nagar Police Inspector benguluru to take legal action Against @amazonIN Who insulted lord Krishna in very lower manner We request @CPBlr @DgpKarnataka File FIR against @amazonIN #Boycott_Amazon @HinduJagrutiOrg”
Amazon has, as of yet, refrained from commenting on the controversy. It’s not the first time the e-commerce giants have faced backlash on Indian shores. In 2019, a case was filed against its United States portal for selling rugs and toilet seats with Hindu gods on them. In 2021, its Canadian website landed in a broth for selling bikinis emblazoned with the Karnataka flag and emblem.