Post Office row stamped out

Post Office row stamped out

By staff writers
10 Nov 2005

Post Office row stamped out

-10/11/05

Christmas stamps that caused a religious row have been partially withdrawn by the Royal Mail after protests from some Hindus.

Hindus demanded that the Royal Mail withdraw one of this year's Christmas stamps, claiming the mother and child image featured on it was insulting to their religion.
The 68p Christmas stamp features a man and woman with Hindu markings worshipping the infant Christ.

The Royal Mail said its 14,500 UK post offices would now be issued with replacement 68p stamps when the offensive stock runs out.

Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said the image was insensitive, because it showed people who were clearly Hindu worshipping Christ.

He asked its members, and members of other Hindu groups, to send unstamped protest letters to Royal Mail's headquarters.

He said he hoped this would cause a "logistical nightmare worse than withdrawing the stamp".

The design on the stamp is by the Rev Irene Von Treskow, an Anglican priest and illustrator living in Berlin. It is based on a painting from India's Mughal empire which predated the arrival of Britain as an imperial power in the region.

Although there were complaints and calls for a boycott, not all were offended by the image, and some believed that a fuss was being made by what one Hindu told Ekklesia were ìself-appointed community leadersî, to boost their own standing.

He added: ìThere is no obvious inference that Jesus is being acknowledged in the same way as Christians do. Besides, my religion is supposed to be tolerant. And this was a Hindu artistís idea. There is so much trouble in the world ñ please letís just get on with being good neighbours and stop making an issue over nothing.î

Hindu believers recognise God in many forms. Some revere Jesus, and many recognise him as a manifestation of the divine, though not as the singular incarnation of God worshipped by Christians.

A year ago Hindu leaders in Britain began a campaign for the Royal Mail to issue special stamps for the Diwali festival of lights which took place last week.

Diwali is also marked by Sikhs and Jains, and celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

The strongly nationalist BJP party in India regularly accuses the countryís established Christian churches and some missionary groups of forced conversions of Hindus, a claim which is denied.

But India has a strong tradition of religious tolerance and a secular form of government. Christianity claims a long Indian history dating back to St Thomas.

Christmas stamps that caused a religious row have been partially withdrawn by the Royal Mail after protests from some Hindus.

Hindus demanded that the Royal Mail withdraw one of this year's Christmas stamps, claiming the mother and child image featured on it was insulting to their religion.
The 68p Christmas stamp features a man and woman with Hindu markings worshipping the infant Christ.

The Royal Mail said its 14,500 UK post offices would now be issued with replacement 68p stamps when the offensive stock runs out.

Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said the image was insensitive, because it showed people who were clearly Hindu worshipping Christ.

He asked its members, and members of other Hindu groups, to send unstamped protest letters to Royal Mail's headquarters.

He said he hoped this would cause a "logistical nightmare worse than withdrawing the stamp".

The design on the stamp is by the Rev Irene Von Treskow, an Anglican priest and illustrator living in Berlin. It is based on a painting from India's Mughal empire which predated the arrival of Britain as an imperial power in the region.

Although there were complaints and calls for a boycott, not all were offended by the image, and some believed that a fuss was being made by what one Hindu told Ekklesia were 'self-appointed community leaders', to boost their own standing.

He added: 'There is no obvious inference that Jesus is being acknowledged in the same way as Christians do. Besides, my religion is supposed to be tolerant. And this was a Hindu artist's idea. There is so much trouble in the world - please let's just get on with being good neighbours and stop making an issue over nothing.'

Hindu believers recognise God in many forms. Some revere Jesus, and many recognise him as a manifestation of the divine, though not as the singular incarnation of God worshipped by Christians.

A year ago Hindu leaders in Britain began a campaign for the Royal Mail to issue special stamps for the Diwali festival of lights which took place last week.

Diwali is also marked by Sikhs and Jains, and celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

The strongly nationalist BJP party in India regularly accuses the country's established Christian churches and some missionary groups of forced conversions of Hindus, a claim which is denied.

But India has a strong tradition of religious tolerance and a secular form of government. Christianity claims a long Indian history dating back to St Thomas.

Keywords: christmas stamps
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