There is a saying in Bihar “Sayana Aadmi teen baar Guh makhta hai” – which means a smartass smudges himself with shit thrice, smudging here would mean the minute inspection of an object or substance using different senses. Now take Tanishq for instance, the jewelery company from the elite house of the Tatas. Tanishq has been running an ad series called Ekatvam for a few days, probably with the aim of uniting the mankind as one. The ad series extensively focuses on oneness in all religions. Perhaps Tanishq believes that it can achieve what the great sages of yore could not, that too through an advertisement series. Fantastic objective but childish. Under this series, came an advertisement which polarized the social media into two distinct groups, almost immediately. Here is a little detail:
This is the story of a beautiful newly married woman who is now pregnant. A graceful dupatta-clad-kohl-eyed-in-a-Mehbooba-Muftishque way elderly woman, takes the newlywed woman to the home garden with her hands adoringly caressing her shoulders. The newlywed starts grinning. The house of the pregnant lady is pregnant with joy, looks like a God-bharai (baby shower) function has been organized. Then the newlywed says, “Mother, this ritual does not exist in your family, does it?” “. It becomes evident at this point of time that the graceful dupatta-clad-kohl-eyed-in-a-Mehbooba-Muftishque way elderly woman is a Muslim, whose son must also be a Muslim. It also becomes evident that the beautiful newlywed is incredibly happy as she wears a joyous visage. And the generous nature of the dupatta-clad-kohl-eyed-in-a-Mehbooba-Muftishque way elderly woman underlines her sense of secularism.
TN government is a major shareholder in @TanishqJewelry. TN is a state which had always stood for secularism. What is the stand of @CMOTamilNadu on the controversy surrounding the advertisement of Tanishq?#TanishqAd #TanishqEkatvam pic.twitter.com/98umFCvIP5
— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) October 14, 2020
Now you might wonder why on earth would anyone be offended by this great advertisement brimming with love and generosity. What was in it that the people of Hindu religion were hurt by this advertisement and why they boycotted this advertisement? Tanishq eventually had to remove the advertisement.
Well the root cause of it is the matter of love jihad. Love Jihad is a term that has become famous in the last five to ten years. According to Wikipedia, ” Love Jihad or Romeo Jihad is a conspiracy (Wikipedia being Wikipedia) theory alleging that Muslim men target women belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love ” Love jihad has as many viewpoints as there are minds but there are two distinct sets of people – one who believe in it and the other who don’t. The Indian right-wing believes that love jihad is a cruel reality, while the left considers it to be a rightwing conspiracy. Both sides are unflinching in their views.
But what are the facts that corroborate the phenomenon love jihad? Many. There is no disagreement that love knows not the boundaries of caste and religion, but what if love is not love but a conspiracy for demographic control? Hindu-Muslim marriages are not a rarity in the country and will continue to happen, but mostly brides turn out to be Hindus and grooms Muslims. Brides are thence dutifully converted, kids adopt the religion of the father i.e. Islam. In many cases, where the groom/lover was a Hindu, violence and ruthless killings took place. On 9th october in Basavanahalli, Karnataka, a man named Nizamuddin along with his son Sikander killed a young man called K Lakshmipati. The young man’s fault was that he was in love with Nizamuddin’s daughter and wanted to get married. The ruthless killing of Ankit Sharma of Delhi is still afresh in our minds, and the gruesome murder of Rahul Rajput is the latest buzz. Both of them dared to love Muslim girls. But killing is sometimes gender agnostic, for womenfolk are also at the receiving end sometimes. According to a report in Zee News, a man named Shamshad killed a woman and her daughter in Meerut. Shamshad was in a live-in relationship with the woman, while hiding his name and religion all this while. As per a report by Jagran, in Patna, a Muslim man asked his wife to change her religion after 4 years of love marriage, he also threatened to expel her from the house in case she failed to comply. And these stories are just a few days or weeks old, if you start digging, an entire heap of similar stories can be found.
In such a situation, this weird advertisement by Tanishq, full of love and generosity, seems like a foolish experiment which is far from the truth and it was only natural for the Hindus suffering the stigma of love jihad to protest. We had said in the first line itself a smartass smudges himself with shit thrice, smudging here would mean the minute inspection of an object or substance using different senses. First he accidently steps in shit, then he sniffs to make sure if it’s actually shit and then finally he tastes to be doubly sure of it. Tanishq behaved exactly like this. First it released a silly advertisement, then it did not release any pressers or even a tweet even when Hindus were enraged, the company’s shares started nosediving, here it successfully smudged itself twice. Then it came up with a clarification which was sillier than the advert itself.
— Tanishq (@TanishqJewelry) October 13, 2020
Firstly, Tanishq didn’t accept its fault anywhere in the note but that’s okay, what’s not okay though is, that in the last line, Tanishq’s message says that it wants keep its employees, staff and partners safe. It was as if Hindus are vengeful goons who will go on a hunting spree if anyone dares offend their sentiments. Whereas the reality is that Hindus have been the beacons of tolerance since the beginning of time. The last line of Tanishq’s message concludes the smudging ceremony.
Tanishq’s largest clientele comes from Hindu families. Hindus have a tradition of buying and gifting gold on festivals, marriages, and other occasions. Tanishq is a huge brand that will survive, but it is not unreasonable to say that Tanishq has lost a large chunk of its client base forever.