Tanishq, a jewelry unit of Tata Group, had removed a controversial advertisement featuring a Hindu-Muslim family celebrating a baby shower after a wide criticism erupted against the ad on social media. The jewelry firm had to tender an apology to avoid the threats coming from social media to one of its stores although the State Police claimed that there were no physical threats occurred.
India, a country of 1.3 billion population comprising diverse communities with minority Muslims representing about 15% of the total population, is currently facing harsh criticisms from rights groups and the international community over the minority issues. In this modern-day of the 21st Century, the marriages between Hindu and Muslim are still a taboo in many regions of India.
Many criticized the present Indian Government under the leadership of Modi by alleging that it has been increasingly intolerant towards minority Muslims since Modi and his supporters are on the verge of transforming the country into a Hindu nation.
Tanishq’s Controversial Ad
Tanishq, which is a subsidiary unit of the Tata-controlled Titan Company Ltd., released an advertisement under its “Ekatvam”, or oneness campaign, and showed a theme of bonding between the two communities featuring a Hindu bride and her Muslim in-laws holding a baby shower in the Hindu tradition.
The ad sparked protest and harsh criticisms from several people and many started calling to boycott the company on social media on Tuesday, October 12, 2020. Some people even accused the firm of promoting “Love Jihad”, a reference to the idea of a conspiracy by Muslims to forcibly convert Hindu women. Following hundreds of threatening calls to one of Tanishq’s stores, “The Tanishq ad appearing in media today is shameful,” read Monday’s note, written in Gujarati, the state language. “Gandhidham Tanishq seeks forgiveness from the entire Hindu community of Kutch district.”
Late on Tuesday, Tanishq said in a statement that it pulled out the ad considering “hurt sentiments, and the well-being of our employees, partners, and store staff”. Mayur Patil, a police superintendent in the area stated, “They did get a lot of phone calls because of the ad, but there has been no attack or ransacking,” and added, “Police are present at the store, and the store is functioning.”
Tanishq Tenders Apology
On Wednesday, the staff at the Tanishq jewelry store in the city of Gandhidham in western Gujarat state said that they had posted an apology outside the store following threatening calls but no physical threat was visible. Meanwhile, threats erupted in India in 2019 after Unilever’s detergent Surf depicted a theme of promoted Hindu-Muslim unity.
Reflecting on the growing intolerance and extremism in the country, some opposed the ad withdrawal of the company since it depicted that the country is partly succumbed to fear and threats. Shashi Tharoor, a prominent opposition lawmaker, shared his view, “Its capitulation points to the pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation that some have unleashed in the country.” He added, “Never thought I’d see the day when purveying communal hatred is the new normal.”
Critics of the Modi government argued that India, which founded upon the principles of unity in diversity and secularism, has been under constant attack from the extremist forces of Hindu nationalist since the current ruling party, BJP came into power in 2014.
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