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Hindu Dharma and the Art of Motorcycle Branding

Amidst Widespread Objections from Balinese Hindus, Elvindo (PT Indo Jaya Motor) Compelled to Withdraw “Veda” Branding for its New Electric Motor Scooter.

The recent launch of a new electric more scooter by Elvindo - Electric Vehicle Indonesia- underlines the importance of paying attention to local cultural values and religious sensitivities when doing business in Bali and other parts of Indonesia.

As reported by Beritabali.com and Kompas.com, the operational manager of Elvindo, Andri Wijaya, formally apologized on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, to anyone who may have been outraged by the use of an ancient Sanskrit term referring to a religious text in branding the motor scooter. That name has now been formally removed from the marketplace with a new, more culturally neutral brand name soon to be announced.

“Veda” is the name of an ancient religious scripture of the Hindu Religion and as such, in the view of many devout Hindus, cannot be commercialized.

Andri emphasized that Elvindo’s desire in naming the scooter was only to introduce Indonesian culture to the world but they had unintentionally made a misstep as evidenced by the vociferous public comment on the “Veda” branding.

Puskor Hindunesia – a Hindu association in Indonesia announced that they are opposed to any use of Hindu symbols, terms, and sacred text to name a commercial product. Ida Bagus Susena, the chairman of Puskor Hindunesia, said his organization will always be diligent in safeguarding all aspects of the respectful implementation of Hindu teachings, namely: “Satyam (righteousness), Siwam (purity) and Sundaram (Ethical action, societal norms, and beauty).

The Association of Hindu Dharma Indonesian University Students (KMHDI) also joined the protest on the use of “Veda” as a brand name for the new motor scooter. The chairman of the leadership presidium of KMDHI, I Kadek Andre, said: “We have delivered a letter of protest to PT Indo Jaya Motor (Elvindo). We told them we object to the subject branding.”

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