It’s been a few days since this news has drawn substantial public attention and has been one of the most discussed topics lately. Yes, I am talking about none other than the infamous boycott of the popular and premium jewellery brand, Tanishq (a Tata group subsidiary), for releasing an advertisement that promotes the concept of unity. The new collection of the brand has been named ‘Ekatvam’.
This has been done through an inter-community marriage wherein a Hindu woman is married into a Muslim family. On the day of the baby shower, her in-laws, especially her mother-in-law organises a grand function as per the Hindu rituals. It ends with the message that every family must prioritise the happiness of the daughter-in-law over anything else.
Well, does this entire concept sound offensive or derogatory towards any community in any sense? However, as soon as the ad went on air, Tanishq faced massive backlash and contempt from our highly coveted nationalists, or may we call them Hindu extremists, as they believed that ad significantly promotes ‘Love Jihad’. Awesome terminology that has potentially replaced ‘Communal Harmony’ in the new India.
The Tata group brand was trolled so badly that they eventually had to pull the video down from the internet. The shocking part was that the harassment was not limited to digital attack, but a Tanishq showroom in Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat was made to put an apology board in the display for hurting the sentiments of the Hindu community. However, the Gujarat Police has denied any threat or attack on the showroom that was reported earlier. Ah well! The irony.
So here comes an important point: who was actually trolled? Tanishq? Tata? The fun part is all of those who are promoting cyber trends like #BoycottTanishq; we don’t know how many of them can actually afford it. Yet, Tanishq’s response was unduly submissive as if they had really committed a crime by creating that ad. So in my opinion, this move to appease the religious majority cannot be justified if you really intend to promote secularism.
It is not the jewellery brand that has been criticised; it is communal harmony, which is so colossally disliked. It’s the idea that the two communities can actually coexist in peace despite certain differences that enrage a large percentage of people in India. The message is unmistakable—we want a country where the religious majority can rule. So what was more disturbing? A Hindu woman happily married into a Muslim family or that a woman was getting so much of love and care from her in-laws?
Is communal acrimony preferred, or is it patriarchy that has found a potential threat in this ad? Many argued that “why can’t they show a Muslim woman married into a Hindu family? This is because Muslim men marry Hindu women and convert them to Islam, and thus, they increase their population”.
Honestly, there cannot be a statement worse that emphasises objectification of a woman as she is looked upon only as a baby-producing machine. The question is, how does it matter whether a woman or a man is Hindu or Muslim? More importantly, why should it even matter? If we want to live in complete religious concurrence, how could it be bad in any respect?
What enrages me more is that this has not happened for the first time, a similar treatment of boycott was faced by the top a detergent brand, Surf Excel after their Holi ad was aired. The ad was an innocent depiction of how the festival of Holi can unite the children, who don’t really care about religion.
Even that ad, which features children below 10, was termed as an attempt to promote Love Jihad!! The worst part is that such outrage and blatant support of communal discord is not limited to common people, even those in coveted administrative position reinforce such ideologies openly!
The latest example of this is when the governor of Maharashtra mocked the CM, saying, ” When did you turn secular?” So in a country that has secularism written as a part of its constitution, how can such questions even be raised so irresponsibly? This is not new, this disease of looking at interfaith love and co-existence as a bad omen has aggravated to the extent that people are blatantly harming, abusing and killing each other in the name of religion.
The most important and critical question that arises here is: is it dangerous to be secular in India? Does it call harm to promote women’s interest in this country? Well, the answer is left to you.