SIKHS: Golf Digest apologizes for depiction of Guru Arjun Dev Ji
Moderator's note: What possesses the magazines, advertisers and others to seek ready images of revered religious figures to depict their ideas? The ideas are rather dumb.
If they are communicating the idea of imparting supreme knowledge of Golf in this case, why don't they pay the money to Tiger woods and have him on the picture, that would be smart. As Tiger wood would be the real Golf Guru.
Depicting a doctored image of Guru Arjun Dev shows their lack of knowledge of the Guru and their marketing department lacks the originality and are chimsy, nothing original comes out of them.
The marketing professionals (really?) ought to be aware of what happened to Nike or other foot wear manufacturers who used Hindu Icons or Muslim Scriptures.
Any marketing idea that is perceived to be offensive is not a smart idea at all; it does the opposite of what is intended. I hope the advertisers owe it to their clients to do the research and do it right for them.
According to SALDEF--the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund--the editor-in-chief and chairman of Golf Digest magazine, Jerry Tarde, has issued an apology to the Sikh community for using the image of Guru Arjun Dev Ji in its May 2008 edition. The item showed him as a "golfing guru," holding a golf club and offering advice. From a SALDEF press release:
In a written communication sent to SALDEF, Mr. Tarde stated, "Our editors regret this mistake and have learned an important lesson. Thank you for accepting our apology." Golf Digest has assented to issue a public apology to the Sikh community in the August issue of the magazine which will come out in July as asked by hundreds of community members. In addition, Golf Digest agreed to SALDEF's demand to stop the use of the image in their magazine or web site in the future.
The printed apology in the August 2008 edition of Golf Digest will read as follows:
"It has been brought to our attention that an illustration in the May issue of Golf Digest inadvertently depicted a golfing character resembling an image of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, who is a revered religious figure in Sikhism. This was not our intent. We apologize for the use and for any offense to the Sikh community."
The issue was brought to SALDEF's attention by a Sikh blogger based in Washington DC, who did a detailed analysis of the imagery and scanned the image we used above. You can also see the entire pages in Golf Digest where the item ran. Earlier, SALDEF had organized a petition (now closed), calling for people to express their "displeasure" about the image:
On page 66 of the publication appears an article titled “The Golf Guru” which answers reader's questions about general topics associated with golf. The beginning of the article features an image which, at first glance, appears to be a South Asian man dawned in a turban and beard, holding a golf club and wearing a golf glove. The image used is an obvious play on words where consumers have their questions answered by a “Golf Guru.”
However, under closer examination, the image Golf Digest uses appears to in fact be a widely distributed picture of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Sikhism’s fifth Guru. Guru Arjan Dev Ji was instrumental in strengthening the message of equality and freedom of the Sikh faith. He stood up against all types of religious oppression and denounced social segregation.
SALDEF has contacted Golf Digest publisher, Thomas Blair commenting, “While we understand the message that Golf Digest attempted, and failed, to send to their consumers, the decision to use the specific picture shows the cultural and religious ignorance of Golf Digest staff and senior executives.”
Magazine in soup for calling Arjan Dev 'golfing guru'
WASHINGTON: The Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (SALDEF), the oldest Sikh civil rights’ and advocacy organisation in the US, has asked premium golfing magazine, Golf Digest, to apologize for depicting Sikhism’s fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev, as "Golfing Guru" in its May edition.
The storm was kicked up after an American Sikh, Harjit Singh Sandhar, noted the depiction while on flight to Washington DC from Tulsa. He and his cousin, Sartaj Singh reported the matter to SALDEF.
"The image appeared along with an article — the Golf Guru — on the magazine’s 66th page. It appeared at the beginning of the article, which answers readers questions on golf," SALDEF said, adding, "The image, at first glance, appears to be a south Asian bearded, turbaned man with golfing gloves and stick. But the image is a picture of Guru Arjan Dev."
In a letter to the Golf Digest publisher, Thomas Blair, SALDEF said, "The decision to use the picture shows cultural and religious ignorance of Golf Digest staff and executives."
SALDEF chairman, Manjit Singh, said they had brought the matter to the magazine’s notice, about a month back.
"Since we got no response, SALDEF decided to raise the matter within the community," he said, adding, "Since the mistake has been brought to the editor’s notice, it should be corrected."
Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) has also condemned the depiction and described it as blasphemous.
"The way Golf Digest doctored the image is clearly blasphemous and shows they are insensitive. They should have first determined who Guru Arjan Dev is before using his image," SCORE chairman, Rajwant Singh, said.
Golf Digest is self-proclaimed number one publication in its genre. Published by Advance publications, the magazine is a generalist golf publication covering recreational and competitive golf.
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