Protests broke out in India this past weekend over what might seem like a trivial matter to Westerners. But in Southeastern Asia, it speaks to a bigger cultural crisis that’s been underway for some time.
Members of the right wing Hindu organization Shiv Sena and the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata political party are angry at the Aussies for unintentionally disrespecting their culture. In fact, they burned images of the Australian flag and held up pictures of models in Hindu deity-adorned swimsuits at a protest in the Indian cities of Hyderabad and Amritsar this weekend, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The groups were angered by the use of Hindu deities like Ganesha and Lakshmi on designer Lisa Burke’s swimwear, which was modeled on the catwalk at Australian Fashion Week. (Burke’s label, Lisa Blue, donates 25% of net profits to protecting whales and dolphins in the South Pacific.)