Wed 14 October 2020:
Tanishq, a top Indian jewellery retailer, was forced to pull out an advertisement featuring an inter-faith couple after drawing flak from country’s right-wing for promoting Hindu-Muslim unity.
The advertisement shows a baby shower organised for the Hindu bride by her Muslim in-laws.
Rights groups say religious tolerance is under threat in India. Hindu-Muslim marriages have long attracted censure.
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 United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in its annual report released earlier this year recommended that the State Department should designate India as “country of particular concern” or CPC, for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA)”.
A section of conservative social media users led calls to boycott the brand, taking it to the top of Twitter trends. Many joined in to condemn the abusive posts and comments which bolstered the boycott trend.
The description for the advertisement posted to YouTube read: “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.”
The brand first disabled comments and likes/dislikes on the advert, posted to Facebook and YouTube. It later removed the video altogether.
Opposition Congress party MP Shashi Tharoor, who posted the advert to his Twitter account, said that “Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott 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 – India?” he wrote.