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Ganesha's presence in Coeur d'Alene might prove auspicious for city, Hindus assert


June 11, 2011 - Nevada (US)

Ganesha's presence is always considered auspicious, esteemed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has suggested in view of the publicly displayed sculpture "Ganesha" in downtown Coeur d'Alene (Idaho, USA) and subsequent protest by a group.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Connecticut (USA) today, said that in Hinduism Lord Ganesha was worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. What could be more auspicious for Coeur d'Alene than having a Ganesha statue in its downtown, Zed asked.

"Ganesha" on East Sherman Avenue and South 6th Street by Spokane metal artist Rick Davis is part of 15 sculptures of "ART Currents-Coeur d'Alene Public Art On-Loan 2011-2012 Program". Spread throughout the downtown area, variety of art pieces on-loan from local and national artists are on display for one year and for sale. Besides "Ganesha" (which is priced at $35,000 and is third most expensive), Rick Davis created "St. Francis of Assisi" and "Great Blue Heron" are also on display.

Rajan Zed has called Ganesha sculpture installation in Coeur d'Alene "a step in the right direction". Zed argued that this public display of Lord Ganesha would bring more inclusivity in religion and help create a unity that celebrated diversity.

Kootenai County Constitution Party has termed it as "abomination" and is protesting against it. Coeur d'Alene is county seat of Kootenai County.

Sandi Bloem, Wendy Gabriel, Susan Weathers, and Steve Anthony are the Mayor, City Administrator, City Clerk, and Recreation Director of City of Coeur d'Alene respectively; while Fred Ogram is Chairman of its Arts Commission, a 12-member panel appointed by the Mayor. Guiding Principle of Coeur d'Alene Arts Commission is to "Select artworks of sufficient scale to capture public attention. Make an impression."

"Coeur d'Alene now dedicates 1.33 percent of the total cost of all eligible capital improvement projects to fund art in public places. The purpose of the public art program is to integrate a wide range of public art into the community and reflect the diversity of communities, artistic disciplines, and points of view", according to a brochure.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. Besides Hindus, devotion to elephant-headed and human-bodied Ganesha also extends to Jains and Buddhists.

ANI

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