Religious violence has been one of the major concerns in India, particularly between Hindus and Muslims and it has taken the form of religious rioting. This dispute saw another day when social media had a hashtag “Boycott Tanishq” trending on Monday.
A number of netizens were calling for a ban on the 45-second ad of Tanishq, featuring a Hindu-Muslim interfaith marriage. Reportedly, the Titan Group’s Tanishq Jewellery brand faced severe counterattacks and has pulled down the ad from its YouTube page which is being alleged of promoting ‘love jihad’. The firm made the YouTube link to the ad private on Monday evening making it inaccessible to people. And, by Tuesday morning, the advertisement was no longer visible on its YouTube page.
‘#BoycottTanishq’ was a top trend on Monday and a number of people tweeted against the advertisement claiming that it encouraged “bogus secularism” and “love jihad”.
The controversial ad was titled as ‘Ekatvam’ and was released to celebrate “unity in togetherness“. The advertisement featuring an inter-religious baby shower was released last week. It was targeted by a segment on social media who called it “endorsing love jihad”. A lot of people judged the chauvinism and calling it totally against the idea of India.
Responding to the backlash, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted the following. Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said, “Those boycotting the Tanishq ad don’t like seeing daughter in law(s) happy around mother-in-laws. You have seen too many soaps & too much prime times news.”
Ex-member of the National Commission of Women Shamina Shafiq tweeted, “Thank you for making us notice the beautiful #tanishq ad dear trolls!”
So Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott of @TanishqJewelry for highlighting Hindu-Muslim unity through this beautiful ad. If Hindu-Muslim “ekatvam” irks them so much, why don’t they boycott the longest surviving symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in the world — India? pic.twitter.com/cV0LpWzjda
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 13, 2020
Communications strategy consultant Karthik Srinivasan confirmed the news on Twitter.
Tanishq has officially withdrawn their ad after being trolled viciously. Here's why this is a very sad state of affairs, and context from other such ads that were trolled (and some, withdrawn) https://t.co/Nb0cSiTPHX pic.twitter.com/sn3IMBqdmC
— Karthik (@beastoftraal) October 13, 2020
On October 9, Tanishq crafted a beautiful ad to promote its new jewellery track called ‘Ekatvam’. The 45-second video showed a Muslim family preparing a traditional South Indian baby shower for their pregnant Hindu daughter-in-law. The YouTube description of the ad had noted, “She is married into a family that loves her like their own child. Only for her, they go out of their way to celebrate an occasion that they usually don’t. A beautiful confluence of two different religions, traditions, cultures.”
The commercial received more ‘dislikes’ than ‘likes’ and the comments section of the video was also disabled by the company on Monday. In the ad, the young woman, expecting her first child, is accompanied to the garden by her kind mother-in-law for a ceremony. Soon after arriving at the celebration area, the woman is surprised to witness that the ceremony has been organised as per Hindu rituals. She asks her mother-in-law about it, saying, “Par yeh rasam toh aapke ghar mein nahi hoti hai na?” (But this ceremony is not celebrated at your place, isn’t it?),” and is told, “Bitiya ko khush karne ki rasam toh har ghar mein hoti hai na?” (The ceremony to make the daughter happy is held in every house, isn’t it?)
There has been outrage against Tanishq for allegedly promoting ‘Love Jihad’ as well as inter-faith marriages. It is being trolled ruthlessly. Tweets like:
“Why I see Hindu daughter-in-law everywhere….why don’t you show Muslim daughter-in-law anywhere. Just Asking.”
“#BoycottTanishq Now it is becomes national problem. We have to fight this issue with legal and social motive. Protect our daughter from love jihad and save their lives,” and so on.
After stark trolling from right-wing fragments, Tanishq removed the ad.
Twitter is now divided into two groups – a group supporting the creative ad and the other alleging it as an anti-Hindu ad. A user said, “What was there as Love Jihad yaar? It’s a sweet ad which just shows that you can express your love to the other person irrespective of caste, like what is wrong with the people.”
Tanishq has not given any more comments on the topic.
Paradoxically, India typically described as more ethnic and religious than most other countries of the world. Of all the devout as well as ethnic problems in contemporary India, history has cast its inmost shadow on Hindu-Muslim relationships. It’s really sad to watch what kind of country we are turning into.