A case of a Mumbai pub row as decor hurts religious sentiments…

Be very careful while mixing commerce with religion. It usually backfires and in a spectacular way.

Last week, Christians filed a complaint against a pub in Mumbai due to latter’s decor:

The Watchdog Foundation, an organisation claiming to represent Christian interests, has filed a police complaint against the owner of Goregaon Social, a pub in suburban Mumbai, on the grounds that the establishment’s interior decoration is blasphemous. The Archdiocese of Bombay also issued an official press statement on Wednesday condemning the restaurant for hurting religious sentiments.

According to a statement by the Watchdog Foundation, Goregaon Social – which opened in August – has interiors with “outrageous depiction of various Saints and religious items from the Holy Book Bible, which is nothing short of blasphemy to Christianity”. The list of decor elements in the pub includes stain glass images depicting “Jesus holding a leather bag”, “Moses holding a computer tablet” and “St Anthony wearing glasses”.

“The bar area has a backdrop of a Tabernacle set up…the seating arrangement in the bar is that of church pews. Even the messages inscribed on the benches are from the Holy Bible,” the press statement said. In their police complaint, made on Tuesday night, Watchdog Foundation has demanded the arrest of the pub’s owner for outraging religious sentiments under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code.

The Church’s official press release, meanwhile, demands that the pub be closed down and a its operational licences be cancelled till the interior decoration is changed. “How did the BMC give permission for these interiors? It is a clear violation of our laws and it is upsetting that our community is taken for granted like this,” said Father Warner D’Souza, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church.

Here is another angry article which says the community has been educed to a set of clichés and motifs by Bollywood, people unfamiliar with them, and more recently for social-media-fluff anthropologists..

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