At the same time that violent protests against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed were erupting around the world, a Southern Comfort whisky promotion in Athens provoked an international outcry by displaying a statuette of the Hindu Goddess Durga, shown carrying bottles of whisky.
Fearful that similar violent scenes could erupt, Baba Ghai was requested to intervene by community groups in Greece and help peacefully resolve the conflict. First, he mediated between the parties and obtained an official apology from the Senior Vice President in Southern Comfort’s headquarters in Kentucky, USA.
Fresh controversy endangered the newly brokered peace when, on the misguided advice of British Hindu umbrella organisation, the Durga Maa statue was burnt rather than immersed in water, as per Hindu practice. Hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs gathered to protest against Salon Oriental Bar in Athens, which was peacefully resolved after hours of talks with local groups.
UNESCO 2006 GOLD MEDAL
Baba Ghai was awarded the 2006 UNESCO Gold Medal in Athens, Greece for peacefully resolving an international religious conflict in Athens, Greece and promoting peace dialogue.
A Southern Comfort whisky promotion in Athens provoked an international outcry in February 2006, when Hindus in Athens, India and around the world erupted in protest against a statue of the Goddess Durga shown with bottles of branded whisky.
Baba Ghai immediately established contact with Southern Comfort’s Senior Vice President in Louiseville, Kentucky and obtained an apology to defuse the potential conflict.
The display was removed but, upon Baba Ghai’s arrival in Athens some days later, fresh controversy broke out however when, on misguided advice of a UK Hindu group, the statue was burnt, not immersed in water, as per Hindu practice. Hundreds gathered to angrily protest – which Baba Ghai personally resolved after peace talks.