Indian Woman Slams U.S. Pub for Hindu Deities on Toilet Walls

The co-founder of the pub has promised to remove the pictures immediately.


A pub in New York was slammed by an Indian-origin woman for having put pictures of Hindu-deities in its VIP bathroom. The co-founder of the pub has promised to remove the pictures immediately.

Ankita Mishra, born in Ohio and raised in New Jersey, who raised the issue of Indian deities walked into ‘House of Yes’ pub in Bushwick, New York last month.

She was seated in a plush corner of the pub and wanted to use the washroom. As soon as she entered the washroom, she was shocked to see the private washroom adorned with the picture of Hindu deities including Ganesh, Saraswati, Kali, and Shiva.

“I suddenly found myself in a curiously-decorated VIP bathroom inside House of Yes in Bushwick, NY. The walls were papered with bejeweled images of Hindu gods like Ganesha, Saraswati, Kali and Shiva,” she wrote in her blog for Brown Girl Magazine.

The incident which took place last month prompted her to write a “Strongly Worded letter” to the authorities of the club, she said.

“This is the price of silence. The scales will always tip back to favor the status quo, the inherent whiteness of the spaces we enjoy. Our Hindu holidays and festivals, our grief and history, will only ever be presented as an accessory to American and European conquests — forever owned and forever used as if there are no consequences.”

Her letter, which is addressed “To Whom it May Concern, (that should be everyone!),” talks about Hindu culture, the struggles of being in a country which has been blamed as the micro-aggressor of the culture and lastly, the disrespect that is attached with the deities hanging on the walls of a toilet of a night-club.

She said, “Cleanliness and purity are obsessive rules in an Indian household. Around Indian deities, it is a very basic form of respect, one that you learn as a child. You cannot present a flower to a god after having smelled it– you cannot wear shoes in a temple. Peeing, shitting, throwing up and all other activities that happen in nightclub bathrooms would also go under the category of uncleanliness,” adding there is no “Piss Christ” art piece equivalent, no cultural Satanic movement that battles each of its innumerable goddesses and gods. Therefore the same rules that apply to Christianity simply are not applicable in Hinduism. You cannot impose your own punk and subversive cultural standards onto another religion. It is just another form of misinterpretation and desire to control something that is not yours.

Her elaborate letter also talks about the constant cultural exploitation that Hindu culture has gone through or always exposed to, stating, “Hindu, Buddhist and South Asian culture continues to constantly be exploited through Western capitalism in the name of spiritual awakening and sexual exploration. Our culture is not a ticket to your self-discovery. India was under colonial rule for 200 years and I, frankly, am tired of how uneducated America seems to be about that. Do you think you would even be in that yoga class if it hadn’t been perfectly packaged for you to consume?”

She concludes her letter urging the authorities to not “make me lose faith in the ability we all have to right some wrongs and truly hear each other out.”

But to her surprise, she got a response where Kae Burke, co-founder and creative director at House of Yes, took total responsibility of the design and apologized stating she should have tried to understand and study the culture more before putting it on the walls of the toilet.

Burke wrote, “I am sorry for not taking the time to fully understand and research the deep history of the culture I was inspired by before using it to decorate. I feel awful that you had to experience this type of cultural disrespect at House of Yes of all places.

I hear you loud and clear and the tone-deaf appropriative/offensive bathroom will be dismantled and redesigned ASAP. To be transparent, the soonest I can take it on is right after Halloween. If you insist, we can put paint over it until then.”

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