A couple of days ago?Amazon listed a series of doormats with Indian Flag on its Canadian portal.
A Non Resident Indian took offence and began tweeting about it to?Indian Minister for external affairs. Interestingly, this news comes on the heels of the much lauded the Overseas Indian fest, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 that concluded in Bangalore this week.
@SushmaSwaraj Madam. Amazon Canada must be censured and warned not to sell India flag doormats. Please take action.
? Atul Bhobe (@atulbhobe) January 11, 2017
With characterstic speed,?Sushma Swaraj swung to action and tweeted.
Indian High Commission in Canada : This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level. https://t.co/L4yI3gLk3h
? Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 11, 2017
Immediately after Ms?Sushma Swaraj tweeted her “warning,” Amazon took down the offending doormats from its websites. And the?Desi media and bloggers had a field day?patting their backs over yet another “Swedesi victory over a multinational”
But Indians, perhaps rightly want more:
“Amazon Canada might have removed the offensive product ? doormat bearing the Indian tricolour ? from its listings but it must go the whole hog and apologise to India for the infra dig heaped on Indians who wear their National Flag and nationalism on their sleeves.
The manufacturer, XLYL, may be one of the thousands of suppliers using the Amazon Canada portal, but that does not mean the e-commerce giant should be allowed to wash its hands of the stinking mentality of its supplier. Earlier, images of Indian gods were emblazoned on doormats sold by a supplier on the Amazon US portal. One wonders whether the offender then was the same XLYL. Amazon would do well to investigate the antecedents of such India-phobes and rein in them. The fig leaf of a ‘marketplace model’ should not be used as a cover by e-commerce portals to escape responsibility.?“ said Firstpost
It is not just the flag. Indians have begun a renewed push to get citizen to respect its flag.?NY Times reports -?Indian Cinemas Must Play the National Anthem, Supreme Court Rules –
India?s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered movie theaters to play the national anthem before each screening, asserting that doing so would instill ?a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism? in Indians.
In an interim order, the bench said that the anthem must be accompanied by images of the Indian flag, and that all present in the hall must stand while it is played.
This recent issue issue brings forth bigger questions:
- We live in a globalized world but respect for individual cultures and social values are still paramount
- Multinationals and even digital?content aggregators and marketplaces cannot hide behind their suppliers and vendors. They need to take accountability for governance
- Sovereign countries offer multinationals a “license to operate.” Such license to operate can be questioned if it conflicts with the values of the host country.
- In this case, Amazon listed the flag-doormat on its Canadian website.
- Indian people took offence and used social media to petition the Government?leader took swift and decisive action, threatening Amazon with retaliation
Links to other media articles and blogs:
- Amazon halts sales of Indian flag doormat after visa threat – reuters
- Amazon removes Indian flag doormat from website – TOI
- After Sushma Swaraj’s Visa Threat, Amazon Drops Indian Flag Doormats – NDTV
- Amazon must learn that Indians wear their National Flag on their sleeves, not on doormats – FirstPost