India is a country that is abundantly diverse – rich with a variety of cultures, religious faiths, languages, food habits, festivals, and the list continues. To cater to the needs of such a myriad audience is not a child’s play. One has to be extremely aware and sensitive to the masses, even if they aren’t a part of your target audience.
Under such circumstances, avoiding controversies is like walking on eggshells. Especially when it comes to expressing one’s creativity, as it often happens that one cannot confine their flows complying to the normative boundaries of society.
Advertisements too have been no exception and have often found themselves being subjected to the same fate. And only yesterday one of them blew out of hand, with the masses getting so worked up about it that they even started a #Boycott trend to shut down the very company concerned.
What Is The Tanishq Ad About?
Tanishq launched its new jewelry line Ekatvam. For promoting the same, they launched an advertisement on 9th October.
The advertisement captured a Muslim family celebrating the baby shower of their daughter-in-law by observing what seems to be a traditional Hindu ceremony from South India, called Seemantham or Valaikaapu.
In this ceremony, the recently expecting or first-time-mothers are given gifts which are usually in the form of gold ornaments or food, and then sandalwood is applied on their faces and hands, with everyone wishing or blessing her with good health and a happy life.
This 45-second advertisement on YouTube using the following words as its description – “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.”
However, this did not settle well with the audience, and ever since then the public has been accusing the company of promoting what is referred to as “love jihad”. And things escalated to an extent where a full-blown campaign called #BoycottTanishq has been doing rounds on Twitter since Monday morning.
Things went to the extent where the video has now been taken down. And for a country that has the word ‘Secular’ defining itself in the very Preamble of its Constitution, it is utterly shameful to be so spiteful against what was nothing more than a harmless campaign to spread communal harmony between two communities.
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What Is Love Jihad?
Love Jihad, also known as Romeo Jihad, is a concept or rather a conspiracy theory that has mostly been popularized by the Islamophobic masses. This concept is believed to be a tactic used by the Muslim communities to try and use love as a tool to add girls from other communities and convert them into Muslims.
The new ad film that Tanishq had launched was also labeled to be an attempt to do the same on a wider scale. It has been circled out as a trick to lure girls to the Muslim community by making fake promises of inclusivity and tolerance towards other cultures and faith. Reality is apparently not that rosy as they might have portrayed, according to those in protest of it.
This isn’t the first time that a controversy has broken loose based on this accusation. Whenever advertisements have tried to show an inter-faith relationship in a tone which is different from the usual hostile picture that is painted and imbibed in the minds of the masses – the latter has retaliated.
The question that thus remains is if we cannot even bear to think of a parallel world of fiction where inter-faith relationships and kinship bonds among these two communities is possible, how do we plan on breaking the deep-rooted xenophobic stereotypes that we have been conditioned and internalized with?
Image Credits: Google Images
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The Post Is Tagged Under: Tanishq, twitter, trend, Islamophobic, stereotypes, baby shower, Muslim community, love jihad, Romeo jihad, South-Indian traditions, Seemantham, Valaikaapu, inter-faith, controversial advertisement, diverse country