Fashion label Sabyasachi on Sunday evening withdrew a social media advertisement promoting its new mangalsutra collection hours after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra warned the brand’s founder Sabyasachi Mukherjee of legal action.
Mangalsutra is one of the wedding ornaments worn by married women in India as a symbol of their marital status.
A series of advertisements for Sabyasachi’s latest collection showed models wearing mangalsutra while posing solo or in intimate positions with others.
In a tweet, Mishra claimed that the advertisement was “highly objectionable and hurtful”. He issued a 24-hour ultimatum to fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee to remove the advertisement or face action.
Mishra said that a mangalsutra is the most important ornament among all others. “We believe that the yellow part of the mangalsutra signifies Goddess Parvati and the black part represents Lord Shiva,” he added.
Sabyasachi brand, best known for its high-end wedding wear, in its Instagram story later announced that it has decided to withdraw the mangalsutra collection advertisement.
“In the context of making heritage and culture a dynamic conversation, the Mangalsutra campaign aimed to talk about inclusivity and empowerment,” the company said. “The campaign was intended as a celebration and we are deeply saddened that it has instead offended a section of our society.”
BJP leaders sends legal notice to Mukherjee
On Thursday, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashutosh Dubey had sent a legal notice to Mukherjee, asking him to remove the advertisement within 15 days and to issue an apology.
“A mangalsutra is a symbol of marriage and the wife is meant to wear it all her life indicating the love and commitment the husband and wife have towards each other and in your ad campaign you have displayed semi naked couple for a mangalsutra ad, which is outraging Hindu marriage,” said Dubey, who is the party’s legal advisor for the Palghar district in Maharashtra.
In recent days, there have been several instances of BJP leaders objecting to advertisements claiming they have hurt religious sentiments.
On October 25, consumer goods company Dabur withdrew an advertisement showing a same-sex couple celebrating the Hindu festival Karwa Chauth, hours after Mishra warned of legal action against the firm.
Earlier this month, BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde objected to an advertisement by tyre manufacturing company CEAT that featured actor Aamir Khan. In the advertisement, Khan can be seen advising a group of people to burst firecrackers inside a housing society, and not on the streets.
In a letter to CEAT Chief Executive Officer Anant Vardhan Goenka, Hegde claimed that the advertisement has “created unrest among Hindus”.
On October 18, clothing and furnishing brand Fabindia withdrew an online advertisement timed to Diwali after BJP leaders and right-wing Hindu groups objected that the company used the Urdu phrase “Jashn-e-Riwaaz”, meaning celebration of tradition.