Royal Mail Refuses to Withdraw Christmas Stamp that Has Sparked Hindu Outrage

November 1, 2005

Source: Khaleej Times

Wire Service: AP

On November 1, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "Britain’s mail service refused on Tuesday to withdraw one of this year’s Christmas stamps after Hindus claimed the image was insulting to their religion. The Royal Mail said it was not possible to amend or withdraw the 68-pence (US $1.20) stamp, which features a man and a woman with Hindu markings worshipping the infant Christ. The Royal Mail apologized for any 'unintentional offense' caused to the Hindu community by the image, taken from a 17th century picture. The picture is an Indian version of a European print of the Christian Holy Family with St. Anne and two angels which hangs in a gallery in Mumbai, India. It shows a man with a Hindu tilak marking on his forehead, identifying him as a Vaishnava Hindu, while the woman has the traditional kumkum mark on her forehead, identifying her as a married Hindu. The Hindu Forum of Britain, representing more than 250 Hindu organizations, called the stamp - which covers the cost of a letter to India - disrespectful and insensitive."