US firm draws flak over Gandhi image on beer cans

US firm draws flak over Gandhi image on beer cans

The use of Mahatma Gandhi’s image on beer cans and bottles by a US company has raised hackles, with a petition being filed in a Hyderabad court alleging that it insulted the Father of the Nation, following which the liquor company has apologised.

The Connecticut-based New England Brewing Company even claimed that its intention was to pay homage and celebrate the apostle of peace, and that Gandhi’s granddaughter and grandson have expressed their admiration for the label.

The beer brand is called “Gandhi-Bot”, which the company says is an intensely hopped double India pale with a blend of three varieties of American Hops.

An advocate has filed a petition before Cyberabad XI Metropolitan Magistrate Sunkari Janardhan Goud contending that Gandhi’s image on the alcohol cans and the description of the Father of the Nation by the brewery are highly condemnable and punishable under Indian laws.

The petition submitted that it amounts to offences under Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, and Section 124-A of IPC, pertaining to use of inflammatory words, signs or visible representation. It is slated to come up for hearing on Monday.

The company’s head brewer and partner Matt Westfall said the company apologises if the sentiments of the Indian people have been hurt.

“We do apologise if the good people of India find our Gandhi-Bot label offensive. Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a great man who we respect greatly. We take great care in creating a product we hope will not be abused in the manner that Mahatma Gandhi spoke of when referencing alcohol,” said Westfall in an email response to PTI.

“Aromatic and fully vegetarian, Gandhi-Bot is an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love,” says the company on its website.

“We hope that not only our product is consumed responsibly with fine food and friends but that they are also inspired to learn more about Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent methods of civil disobedience,” said Westfall.

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