They say any sort of publicity is good publicity. Whether you take a morbid take on the subject to sell your goods like Nykaa or outrightly hurt the religious beliefs of Hindus by making preachy ads like Ceat Tyres or endorse events that promote Hindumisia like Unacademy – it’s all business and brings the eyeballs — even if few of them are squinting and cursing them. Hopping newly on the ‘tried-and-tested’ trend is now Fabindia which recently started its Diwali campaign and immediately found extreme backlash.
Reportedly, Fabindia’s Diwali campaign was titled, ‘Jash-e-Riwaaz’, a euphemism for Diwali or if we put bluntly, a weak attempt to Islamize a traditional Hindu festival. The clothing brand not only came up with the staggeringly woeful idea but also released a video for the same. However, the dimwits of the advertising agency could not Islamize the festival in a video graphical ad and thus showed the rich Rajasthani culture to sell their product.
Netizens not impressed
Safe to say, the netizens weren’t impressed with Fabindia and gave the company a piece of their mind, in a rather generous and curt manner.
One user wrote, “Wow @FabindiaNews great job at de-Hinduising Deepawali! Call it a ‘festival of love and light’, title the collection ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’, take Bindis off foreheads of models but expect Hindus to buy your overpriced, mass produced products in the name of ‘homage to Indian culture’!”
Wow @FabindiaNews great job at de-Hinduising Deepawali! Call it a ‘festival of love and light’, title the collection ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’, take Bindis off foreheads of models but expect Hindus to buy your overpriced, mass produced products in the name of ‘homage to Indian culture’! https://t.co/S47g1ArUbB
Meanwhile, another citizen mockingly asked, what festival Fab India was talking about as he had never heard of ‘Jash-e-Riwaaz’, “Am an Indian and I have never celebrated jashn-e-riwaz. Never heard of it. What on earth is this festival?”
Am an indian and I have never celebrated jashn-e-riwaz. Never heard of it. What on earth is this festival? https://t.co/w15iBV0qpJ
As reported by TFI, cosmetics e-commerce giant Nykaa, during the auspicious Navratri decided to offer as much as 40 per cent discount on condoms and lubes – because how else can a company like it celebrate a Hindu festival, if not by making monetary gains out of the perception that Navratri is, in fact, a pop festival and not a religious one to which Hindus attach great importance?
Hindus celebrate this divine festival & worship 9 Goddesses for 9 days. Durga/Kali Puja is synonymous with Navaratri, wherein goddess Durga battles & emerges victorious over the buffalo demon Mahishasur to help restore dharma. pic.twitter.com/DuxfowgkM8
Nykaa’s advertisement triggered a flurry of responses on social media, and none of them appeared to be in the company’s favour. For the past many years, there has been a concerted attempt to associate Navratri with sexual pleasure. Companies of various strands have tried to make profits out of selling condoms during these nine days, and most of their marketing strategy has revolved around lascivious, double innuendo adverts.
CEAT tyres and its sanctimonious preaching to Hindus
In a recent CEAT tyres advertisement, Social Justice Warrior and a hobby actor, Aamir Khan was seen sermonising Hindus for the umpteenth time on how to celebrate a Hindu festival. In the ad, Aamir Khan is shown as the supporter of the Indian Cricket team who remarks, “Anar, sutli bomb, chakarghini – today if our team hits sixes, we will also burst crackers. But where? Inside the society. Roads are not for bursting crackers. It’s for traffic.”
In another ad, Aamir is seen giving a pep talk to the baarati’s at a wedding. He remarks, “No one will become a Naagin on the street. This is a country of brave soldiers. Today is my friends’ wedding. Whatever will happen, will happen on the footpath. The issue is about safety. The road is only for traffic. “
Aamir Khan in his 'CEAT TYRES' Ad says that Hindus block roads during their marriage ceremonies & create traffic jam
The likes of Aamir Khan, or for that matter, CEAT Tyres do not have the moral rights to preach Hindus when they cannot do the same for the former’s religion. Aamir understands that if he speaks a sentence against the customs and rituals of his religion, thousands of dictatorial Fatwas will be issued and a bloodthirsty mob will gather, vying for his head.
Similarly, in an openly derogatory manner, Roman Saini-led Unacademy had been found sponsoring an AIIMS event that mocked Hindu culture and history. The edu-tech giant lent its name to an event where supposed bright-minded students of AIIMS held a stage drama.
One of the clips going viral on social media portrays a sequence between Kaikeyi(Mother of Shri Ram’s younger brother Bharat), Manthra(her servant), and Raja Dashrath(father of Shri Ram).
In the first part, Manthra is seen provoking Kaikeyi against the handling of the throne to Shri Ram. But, instead of using a cultured language, Manthra tells Kaikeyi that- “अगर राम गद्दी पे आ गया तो तेरी इज्जत तो दारू के चखने जैसी रह जायेगी(If Ram comes to the throne, Kaikeyi’s status will be reduced to the status of snacks in a cocktail party).”
Furthermore, Kaikeyi is seen to be lamenting the decision to marry Raja Dashrath and expresses that she should have run away with her college-time lover.
There are several such scenes in the abhorrent play that made one shrivel in cringe. As the video went viral on social media, the awakened netizens expressed their displeasure over the aghast representation of their devotees. In fact, a campaign to arrest the culprits is running on social media with #ArrestAIIMSCulprits.
Zomato one way or another finds itself in the middle of controversy. Last year, one of the users of the Food Delivery app had cancelled an order as the delivery boy was a non-Hindu. After cancelling his order, he tweeted about it and also said that he did not even insist on a refund and he could not be forced to accept the delivery.
Quoting the user’s tweet, Zomato stated, “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion.” With this Zomato launched a “Food does not have a religion” campaign. Zomato Founder also jumped into this controversy and tweeted, “We are proud of the idea of India – and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners. We aren’t sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values.”
Pic 1: Zomato's reply when a customer wants to cancel food because it's non-Halal.
Pic 2: Zomato's reply when a customer wants to cancel food because delivery boy is non-Hindu in shravan month.
However, barring a few wokes of the internet, the majority found Zomato’s defensive campaign, an attempt to deflect from the core issue. It was soon pointed out that when a user had complained about the delivery of non-Halal food, Zomato had acted in a very different way.
The user tweeted about the issue and said that he couldn’t accept non-Halal food. He also complained that Zomato never mentions that food is non-Halal on its app and he came to know about it only when he enquired about it from the restaurant. He also mentioned that Zomato support refused to cancel the order.
Controversy can be a fickle friend. However, the brands are increasingly using it to make a quick and brief impression, even if it brings a truckload of abuse and negative reception. More often than not, it is Hindus that are targeted in such episodes. And unless and until the brands and their revenues are not hurt, they will continue to churn the despicable ads.