The postage stamp’s image illustrates the Madonna and Child theme.
Britain’s Royal Mail postal service has apologized after the country’s Hindu Forum called for the withdrawal of a Christmas postage stamp depicting what it described as a man and woman with Hindu markings worshipping the baby Jesus.
In a statement issued by the forum, an umbrella group for the British Hindu community, its secretary Ramesh Kallidai said it was “insensitive to use it at a time when the issue of conversions in India has been a subject of heated debate.”
Mr. Kallidai added, “We therefore urge the post office to withdraw the stamp immediately or issue a redesigned version that does not have the Hindu markings on the foreheads of the two characters in the stamp.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said, “The painting dated between 1620 and 1630, on which it is based, is by a Hindu artist on the Madonna and Child theme. This theme has been chosen this year for a set of stamps portraying how it is interpreted by different communities in the world and we thought it a particularly beautiful example. However the Royal Mail does apologize if any unintentional offence has been caused to the Hindu community.”
He noted that it would not be possible to withdraw the stamp which had already been issued to 14,500 post offices in Britain.
The stamp which caused the offence was designed by Rev. Irene Von Treskow, an Anglican priest and illustrator living in Berlin who said she found it in a book and looked up the image on the Internet.