Gandhi-branded beer: Homage or offense?

New England Brewing Company apologizes for using the name and likeness of revered Indian independence leader Mohandas Ghandi on one of its beers, called Ghandi-Bot.

AP File
In a Jan. 22, 1948 file photo, Mohandas K. Gandhi squats before a microphone in New Delhi, India, to deliver prayer meeting discourse during second day of his fast to force communal peace in India. New England Brewing Co. in Connecticut is apologizing to Indians offended that the company is using Mohandas Gandhi's name and likeness on one of its beers. The brewery apologized on its Facebook page for the India pale ale it calls Gandhi-Bot. Critics in the U.S. and India have complained about the commercial use of Gandhi, revered for leading India to independence through nonviolence.

A Connecticut brewery is apologizing to Indians offended that the company is using Mohandas Gandhi's name and likeness on one of its beers.

New England Brewing Co. in Woodbridge apologized over the weekend on its Facebook page for the India pale ale it calls Gandhi-Bot.

"Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a man who we respect greatly," the company said.

Critics in the U.S. and India have complained about the commercial use of Gandhi, revered for leading India to independence through nonviolence.

Proloy K. Das, a Hartford lawyer, tweeted that Connecticut "should be ashamed to be home" to New England Brewing. He did not immediately return a call or email seeking comment.

New England Brewing referred questions to its Facebook posting.

We apologize to any Indian people that find our Gandhi-Bot label offensive. Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a man who we respect greatly. We take great care in creating a product we hope will not be abused in the manner that Mahatma Gandhi spoke of when referencing alcohol. So many Indian people here in America love our tribute to him. Gandhi's granddaughter and grandson have seen the label and have expressed their admiration of the label. We hope that you understand our true intent and learn to respect our method and the freedom we have to show our reverence for Gandhi. 
-Sincerely, NEB

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