Many of us would’ve seen this advertisement by now, including the controversies making rounds on social media since yesterday. Some say this is one of the most beautiful ads ever created. While others have strongly resented this ad and not so surprisingly, the hashtag #BoycottTanishq started to trend on both Twitter and Instagram. Both sides, for and against this ad, have their own justifications, and we are going to try to break it down for you.
The 45-second ad aired by Tanishq was withdrawn just a day after it was aired. The ad showcases a mother-in-law (Muslim) who organises a South Indian style baby shower for her pregnant daughter-in-law (Hindu). Thus, focussing on an inter-faith marriage.
The aim was to show the religious harmony between the two faiths but it clearly backfired and both the communities were equally agitated. This led to incessant trolling of Tanishq for “hurting” the sentiments of both the communities. And #BoycottTanishq started to trend.
Is our society so fragile?
Why the ‘boycott’?
One of the main reasons stated for #BoycottTanishq is ‘Love Jihad’ which is the forceful religious conversion of women, belonging to a non-Muslim community, by the men of the Muslim community. While this has been a sensitive topic, the portrayal of a Hindu bride within a Muslim family and her subtle, emotional and meek demeanour has been interpreted as a result of the same.
One of the other arguments includes ‘sexism’. The portrayal of just women in the family and the absence of the husband in the ceremony had raised some questions. It was accused of only focussing on the ‘feminist perspective’ where the husband is seen doing the house chores, while the women celebrate. That caused unrest, especially amongst some men.
However, the ‘religious bias’ in this ad has been discussed at length. Why a Hindu bride in a Muslim family? Why not vice-versa? Would the Muslim community be okay if their bride came into Hindu families? Why was the ad not about a Muslim man celebrating Diwali with his Hindu family? How can people of two different religions be married in the first place?
These were some of the questions asked, which escalated quickly into an online debate, accusations and even threats directed at Tanishq, until they posted an apology and took down the ad. The underlying message of the ad – “It’s the ritual of every house to keep the daughters happy.” – was lost and ignored in this fight. What could have been a beautiful ad, a new beginning for many, ended with a sad note.
The question she asks “But, you don’t celebrate this ritual in your community, right?” has also raised further debates which states every person should have the right to celebrate their festivals and that ‘permission’ shouldn’t be asked. Many quoted that ‘inter-religion’ marriage is unrealistic and others said it’s a sin.
From hate comments to abuses hurled at the Tanishq officials, it escalated to a point where a Tanishq store in Gujarat was asked to put up an apology in Gujarati and the store owner is getting threat calls despite doing so.
This reminds us of an incident back in March 2019 when the hashtag #boycottsurfexcel trended on Twitter after their ad showed a Muslim boy celebrating Holi with his friend who was a Hindu. This too had caused a similar scene of religious unrest. Surf excel, however, retained the ad.
This brings us to the most important question. Has India really become so intolerant to the inter-mingling of different faiths? Have we forgotten the true meaning of ‘Unity in diversity’?
While we acknowledge the sentiments of people may be circumstantial and based on the current news, the justifications from neither community seem to make sense to us. And instead of progressing, society seems to be regressing.
Should Tanishq really apologise for portraying an inter-faith marriage in an advertisement and take responsibility for #BoycottTanishq?
The ad ends on a beautiful note which says “When we unite as one, there’s nothing we can’t do.” We believe that this should be the take away for the whole of India.
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