Amazon CEO 'invades India' on Fortune cover as Lord Vishnu; draws flak from Hindu bodies

The cover of the January issue of Fortune magazine carrying a illustration of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos resembling Hindu God Vishnu has drawn outrage over “trivialisation of their venerated deity”.

The magazine’s international edition features a story about the company's expansion in India, with the lead story titled ‘Amazon Invades India’, which talks about how Bezos “aims to conquer the next trillion-dollar market”, reports the Hindustan Times.

The cover art was done by Sydney, Australia-based illustrator Nigel Buchanan, whose clients have included the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time and MTV, reports Geek Wire.

Rajan Zed, a Hindu statesman in Nevada, said that the illustration trivialised the venerated Hindu deity.

In a press release, Zed called it an unnecessary dragging of a Hindu deity to prove their point of view, urged Fortune to publish a disclaimer about this on its website and publish the next issue with a proper explanation of Lord Vishnu and Hinduism; in addition to a formal signed apology by Time Inc chairman Joseph A Ripp, Fortune publisher Eric Danetz, editor Alan Murray, creative director Michael Lawton and art director Michael Solita.

The illustration was initially brought to attention by Anil Dash — an entrepreneur and technologist who posted a series of tweets after artist Nigel Buchanan released its first look, reports CNN IBN.

Since Dash's tweets, Fortune editor-in-chief Alan Murray has already issued an apology to “those who may have been offended”, intially on Twitter itself, before releasing an official apology statement on Fortune's website.

Just a few days back, Indian limited over cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was issued a non-bailable warrant by a local court in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh in relation to a magazine cover in April, 2013 that depicted him as Lord Vishnu.

The magazine cover, for a story titled 'God of Big Deals', had an image of Dhoni morphed as the Hindu deity Vishnu, displaying various commercial brands, like 'Lays', and also holding a shoe in his hands.

These incidents are far from unique in India. From MF Hussain to Buchanan, there has always been expected outrage following any alternate depiction of a religious deity. And with criticism come calls for bans and further curbs on free speech.

We can only hope such a suit will not follow once the magazine hits the stands in the country.

Updated Date: Jan 13, 2016 11:00 AM

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