Tanishq has reportedly pulled down a jewellery ad that celebrated an interfaith couple amid some on social media accusing the brand of promoting 'love jihad'.
The 45-second ad showed a baby shower thrown for a Hindu bride by her Muslim in-laws.
Many were not amused.
A section of people on Twitter called for a boycott of the brand for promoting the interfaith couple through the ad, and trolled Tanishq for its stand which led to the brand first disabling comments and likes/dislikes on its ad on YouTube, and later, withdrawing the video altogether.
"We are deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions and withdraw this film keeping in mind the hurt sentiments and well being of our employees, partners and store staff," a Tanishq spokesperson said in a statement.
The idea behind the Ekatvam 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, the spokesperson added.
As #BoycottTanishq trended, the ad also received support for promoting religious harmony, notably from Congress MP Shashi Tharoor who said, "So Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott of Tanishq Jewelry for highlighting Hindu-Muslim unity through this beautiful ad."
He added, "If Hindu-Muslim “ekatvam” irks them so much, why don’t they boycott the longest surviving symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in the world -- India?"
So Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott of @TanishqJewelry for highlighting Hindu-Muslim unity through this beautiful ad. If Hindu-Muslim “ekatvam” irks them so much, why don’t they boycott the longest surviving symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in the world -- India? pic.twitter.com/cV0LpWzjda— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 13, 2020
The former National Commission for Women chief Shamina Shafiq said, "Thank you for making us notice the beautiful #tanishq ad dear trolls !"
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi was caustic. He said, "Those boycotting the Tanishq ad don't like seeing daughter in law(s) happy around mother in law's. You have seen too many soaps & too much prime times news."
As #BoycottTanishq trended on Twitter for a while, the decades-old jewellery brand reportedly removed the ad from YouTube sparking another conversation on why the ad was removed.
Should brands pander to internet trolls?
Some supporters of the ad highlighted another important issue - of brands succumbing to trolls on social media.
A YouTuber, Dhruv Rathee said on the public platform, "This is New India of RW Trolls. If you promote interfaith marriages and religious harmony, you will be abused. But if you spread hatred among religions, you will be praised. But foolish of Tanishq to bow down, it's not like these trolls can afford to buy jewelry anyways."
This has snowballed into another trend #RatanTata with many questioning the business tycoon on the decision making displayed by the brand.
Tanishq is owned by the Tata group of companies, which has been around for over 150 years.
Journalist Rana Aayub took to Twitter to call out Ratan Tata and wrote, "Ratan Tata and the case of the missing spine."
She added: "In this New India, Ekatvam is a crime. Tanishq DID NOT withdraw the advert because of the trolling by right-wing loonies. It withdrew the ad because these loonies are representatives of this regime. A regime and its votebank that finds secularism a threat to Akhand Bharat."
Meanwhile, former Lok Sabha MP Digvijay Singh added his two cents to the topic. He asked, "Why should Tata who has been a Brand of India’s Plurality for over 100 years be bullied by riff-raff third rate Bullies of Paid Troll Army? Ratan Tata ji have you heard of a poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller during Hitler’s regime? Pl take note of the message in this poem."
This is not the first time brands have come under public scrutiny for making ads celebrating interfaith couples. Earlier, Surf Excel and Red Label too faced flak on social media sites for promoting interfaith couples in their advertisements.
About the advertisement
The ad ran with the following description on YouTube: "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 and cultures."
Marriages within the community are usually preferred in the country.
Recently, what has caught the attention of the public eye is the concept of 'love jihad' and a section of Twitterati jumped in to blame the ad for promoting this.
Love jihad is an islamophobic conspiracy theory that holds that Muslim men make women of other religions fall in love with them and later marry them to promote conversion.