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Hindus Protest UK Christmas Stamp


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Hindus Protest UK Christmas Stamp

LONDON, Nov 1: A Royal Mail 68p Christmas stamp featuring a man and woman with Hindu markings worshipping the Infant Christ has created a controversy in the United Kingdom.


Hindus are demanding that the Royal Mail withdraw the Christmas stamp, claiming the mother and child image it represents insult their religion, The Telegraph reported.

The image is one of a series of six mother and child stamps that go on sale on November 1.

Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, told The Telegraph the image was insensitive, as it showed people who were clearly Hindu worshipping Christ.

"It is the equivalent of having a vicar in a dog collar bowing down to Lord Ram on a Diwali stamp," he said. "These things need to be done with sensitivity."

The stamps were drawn from religious images around the world. The Hindu stamp was taken from a picture that hangs in Mumbai and was painted in the 17th century, the British newspaper reported.

It is an Indianised version of a European print of The Holy family with St Anne and the two angels, according to the city art gallery. It has a European theme but a Mughal setting.

The picture was chosen for Royal Mail by this year's stamp designer, Irene Von Treskow, an Anglican priest in an English-speaking church in Berlin.

She said she was fascinated by the image as it was so interesting to see a Mughal painting with a Christian subject.

Kallidai said the man in the painting has a tilak marking on his forehead, clearly identifying him as a Vaishnava Hindu.

The woman has the traditional kumkum mark on her forehead, identifying her as a married Hindu woman. "These are exclusively used by Hindus," he said.

Royal Mail said no offence had been intended, the Telegraph said.

In a letter to Royal Mail, World Hindu Mahasangam Secretary S Swaminathan raised the following objections:

1. Though Hindu religion is the only religion in the world that believes people can reach god by all paths, there is a lot of conversions going on in India. It is a very sensitive issue. Your stamp targeting India raises suspicions.

2. One of your booklets says it is done in 1620. It cannot be that old. This must be a fake picture or painting. We doubt the authenticity of the painting/picture. Unless the authenticity is proved this cannot be used in Royal Mail stamps.

3. Even if the authenticity is proved it will hurt the Hindus, because you have not shown in any one of the stamps Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or Sikhs worshipping baby Christ. Only the Hindus are visible with tilak on their foreheads.

4. Christianity did not enter India on a mass scale that early. All the stories of St Thomas visiting India in the first century were proved wrong by modern scholarship.

5. Hindus who believe in their Gods only will wear tilaks on their foreheads. Christians in India, who are converted, don't wear dots.

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I wonder if this stamp is referencing the 3 Kings from the east bringing gifts and worshiping the Christ Child? I would guess so judging by the chinese looking cat in the top right corner? Although the Christ Child appears to be the baby Ronald Mcdonald.

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