Clothing and furnishing brand Fabindia on Monday removed a tweet promoting its Diwali collection after social media users, including Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, objected to the use of an Urdu phrase to describe the festival.
In its tweet, Fabindia had called Diwali “Jashn-e-Riwaaz” (celebration of customs). However, several social media users called for a boycott of the company, claiming that the Urdu phrase had been used to hurt sentiments of the Hindu community.
“Deepavali is not Jash[n]-e-Riwaaz,” BJP MP Tejasvi Surya said in a tweet. “This deliberate attempt of abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out. And brands like Fabindia must face economic costs for such deliberate misadventures.”
#BoycottFabIndia was among the top trending topics on Twitter on Monday evening. On Tuesday morning, “Urdu” was among the top 20 topics on the social media platform in India.
In the past too, social media users who have aligned to the Hindutva ideology have forced top brands to scrap campaigns portraying a cohesion of cultures and religions.
In October 2020, jewellery brand Tanishq withdrew an advertisement featuring a baby shower for an inter-faith couple. Hindutva supporters had outraged against the commercial on social media for allegedly promoting “love jihad”.
“Love jihad” is a term frequently used by Hindutva organisations to allege a conspiracy by Muslim men to marry women from other religions solely to convert them to Islam.
After Fabindia removed its tweet on Monday, social media users criticised intimidation tactics used by Hindutva groups against brands. People also pointed out that the Urdu language has its roots in India itself.