The Tanishq ad, which was recently pulled down after being trolled for promoting “love jihad”, has set off a heated debate over the last week. As reports come in that a Gujarat outlet of the jewellery store was forced to give an apology, however, Tanishq has also received an outpouring of support for its advertisement that featured an interfaith couple.
This support has manifested itself on social media, where several interfaith couples have shared their stories in the last few days to counter some of the hateful comments being spread by the boycott gang. Actor Zeeshan Ayyub’s wife Rasika Agashe was one of the first few to speak out, sharing a picture of her own baby shower, and appealing for more people to learn about the Special Marriage Act before making allegations of “love jihad”.
Meri godbharai.. socha share kar dun.. and before crying out love jihad, lets learn about special marriage act.. pic.twitter.com/BUykrCriaC
— rasika agashe (@rasikaagashe) October 14, 2020
Actor Mini Mathur, meanwhile, took to Instagram to share her experience of being married to director Kabir Khan. In a series of stories, Mathur called out the hate that was being enabled in the country, and said the advertisement was a small indication of how much love and support she had received in her own interfaith marriage.
“By not speaking up, you are party to normalising of hate between communities. Also, why and how does religion matter? What role does it/should it play in our generation? I’d rather the world turn atheist that have hate as religion. And wanting peace and harmony in our country does not make me or any of us, less of a patriot,” she wrote
TV host Tehseen Poonawalla also issued a strong statement on Twitter in response to an IAS officer’s claim that the advertisement was a product of fiction. He spoke about how his mother, who is Muslim, had gifted his Hindu wife a mandir on her birthday.
My mom is MUSLIM.
My wife Hindu.
My Mom gifted my wife her Mandir!
In our home on Diwali my HINDU wife does Laxmi Puja. Not fictional!
My mom helps in decorating & watches the poojas! Not fictional!
The daughter in law & mother in law in #tanishq is exactly my family @mvadera https://t.co/eEuUJXF7BU
— Tehseen Poonawalla Official (@tehseenp) October 12, 2020
As the dispute continues to trend on social media, several others also spoke about their experience being in interfaith marriages — none of which involved “forced conversions” or “love jihad”, as alleged by the trolls who called for the ad’s boycott a week ago.
My daughter married an Indian Muslim in USA, neither converted. Both mothers flew there when our first grand child arrived.Together we cooked, cleaned,entertained family/friends. At night groaning Ya Allah and He Ram, giggled and slept on hard mattresses. So there, ye bigots! https://t.co/62c4VL1ebd
— Mrinal Pande (@MrinalPande1) October 14, 2020
— rach_aha (@rach_aha) October 13, 2020
This is for @TanishqJewelry and #bigots who called for #BoycottTanishq and have questioned “what if” religions were changed.
So here goes, my maiden name is Zara Farooqui and I am married to Nikhil Parwal @NikZar05 since 2016. And these are our wedding pics. #TanishqAd pic.twitter.com/PV2dQScFPJ
— Zara Raj Parwal (@ZParwal) October 14, 2020
A story published in The Indian Express, written by Sameena Dalwai, who spoke of her experience being the child of an interfaith couple, was also widely shared on Twitter. Some of the prominent faces who praised the essay included Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and filmmaker Danish Aslam.
“I am the unborn baby in that Tanishq ad” — brilliant, heart-warming piece by a daughter of a Hindu-Muslim marriage, Sameena Dalwai. Let us celebrate the richness of our common humanity, &the infinite possibilities that life offers those who shed bigotry: https://t.co/hiEK9uF7Oo
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 15, 2020
So even as the debate heats up over the “love jihad” conspiracy theory with the Tanishq ad, it’s worth remembering that interfaith marriages both exist and thrive in our country. Kudos to all the couples who countered the hate and shared their heartwarming stories.