Tanishq Withdraws Ad Depicting Hindu-Muslim Harmony; Twitter on Fire

Athira Nair
·4-min read

It was only late last week that popular jewellery group Tanishq – owned by the Tata Group – released an advertisement featuring an inter-religious baby shower. Yesterday, Tanishq pulled their ad back following online backlash Hindu Right-wingers.

A still from the Tanishq ad which was pulled on Tuesday.
A still from the Tanishq ad which was pulled on Tuesday.

The 43-second ad had depicted a pregnant Hindu woman decked up for her baby shower in a Muslim household, conveying the message of love and harmony between people of different faiths. The campaign was named ‘Ekatvam,’ which means oneness.

However, the intolerant online trolls wasted no time in making #BoycottTanishq trend on Twitter, as they claimed that the ad promotes ‘love jihad’- a Right wing concept in which Muslim men marry Hindu women as part of showing the former’s power.

Interestingly, journalist Surbhi Gupta had an accurate take on the trolls who were ‘boycotting’ Tanishq:

The fact that the Hindu woman (in the ad) seems happy, and that it was obviously her choice who she is married to, seems to have been lost in this context. The negative response to the ad would have made sense if the Hindu woman was seen upset or ill-treated by her in-laws who belong to a different faith. However, women’s making their own choices is still frowned upon. After all, with patriarchy so deeply ingrained in our society, women are still treated as symbols of honour rather than as individuals with their own thoughts, dreams, and strong will.

There was also an argument on what if the woman in the ad was Muslim, insinuating that Hindu men marrying Muslim women would also provoke protests. The treatment of Muslims as secondary citizens in not even thinly veiled anymore. Also, nobody seems to be questioning why a woman’s choice of her life partner should matter to anyone else, leave alone a whole community.

After pulling the ad on Tuesday, Tanishq stated that they were “deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions,” and that they have taken the action keeping in mind the safety of their staff and stores. “The idea behind the Ekavatam campaign is to celebrate the coming together of people from different walks of life, local communities and families during these challenging times and celebrate the beauty of oneness. This film has stimulated divergent and severe reactions, contrary to its very objective,” the statement added.

Notably, Titan stock fell on Tuesday, ending 2.1 per cent down on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and 2.5 per cent down on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) according to NDTV.

Interestingly, after Tanishq pulled the ad, many prominent personalities, on social media, called for the country’s largest business conglomerate to not bow down to such attacks. Journalists Rana Ayyub, Barkha Dutt, Nidhi Razdan, and Tabeenah Anjum, as well as Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy were among those who did not mince their words, on Twitter.

Actors Konkana Sen Sharma and Swara Bhasker also shared similar views:

The whole episode is proof that everyone – even the richest and the biggest – wants to be in the good books of the vicious parties who are making a joke out of India’s secular fabric.

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