Hours after it withdrew an advertisement featuring a baby shower for an inter-faith couple, jewellery brand Tanishq on Tuesday said it had made the decision “keeping in mind... the well-being of our employees, partners and store staff”. Over the past few days, the ad had been vociferously criticised by Hindutva supporters on social media for allegedly promoting “love jihad”.
“The idea behind the Ekavatam campaign is to celebrate the coming together of people from different walks of life, local communities and families during these challenging times and celebrate the beauty of oneness,” the statement said. “This film has stimulated divergent and severe reactions, contrary to its very objective.”
Tanishq said it was “deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions”. It said it had decided to pull the promotional keeping in mind the well-being of its employees, partners and store staff.
Those opposing the advertisement claimed that it promoted “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.
Tanishq found support from personalities on social media. Author Chetan Bhagat said he was disappointed that Tanishq had pulled the ad. “As a TATA group company, expected #Tanishq to be fairer and braver,” Bhagat tweeted. “If you have done nothing wrong, if you have shown something beautiful about our country, don’t get bullied. Be Indian. Be strong.”
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor praised the advertisement as a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity. “So Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott of @TanishqJewelry for highlighting Hindu-Muslim unity through this beautiful ad,” Tharoor tweeted. “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?”
Congress leader Sanjay Jha tweeted: “Dear Mr Ratan Tata, Be a titan. Don’t let bigots frighten you. Thanks! #Tanishq.”