Indian jewellery brand Tanishq, part of Tata Group, has withdrawn an advertisement featuring a Muslim husband and his pregnant Hindu wife following a backlash on social media which called for a boycott of the brand.
The advertisement, released on Oct 9, promoted its new jewellery line called Ekatvam, the Hindi word for unity. The 45-second video showed a Muslim family preparing a traditional South Indian baby shower for their pregnant Hindu daughter-in-law.
The script 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, cultures.”
While the video was up on YouTube, it received 2,000 dislikes and 500 likes. The comments section of the video was disabled because of a deluge of negative comments before it was taken down.
Hindu-Muslim marriages have long been frowned upon in Indian society and many said the advert promoted “Love Jihad”, a term used by Hindu groups to accuse Muslim men of participating in a “conspiracy to convert Hindu women to Islam by pretending to be in love and seducing them”.
Many social media users on Monday alleged that the advertisement was anti-Hindu. #Boycott Tanishq trended all day on Twitter, with many demanding a ban on the advertisement.
Many other users expressed disappointment at how bigotry and India’s cancel culture led to an ad with a beautiful message being withdrawn, according to Newsd.
Religious polarisation is increasing in India. A Hindu nationalist government has been in power since 2014 and is accused of normalising anti-Muslim sentiment.
Most Indian families still prefer weddings arranged within their religion and caste. Marriages outside these boundaries can lead to violent consequences, including “honour killings”.
According to the India Human Development Survey, only about 5% of all marriages are inter-caste, and interfaith alliances are even fewer.
The majority of Indians of any religion are opposed to inter-religious marriages, according to opinion polls. In fact, many respondents are in favour of banning such marriages.
Historically, the burden of upholding tradition, culture and “purity” has always fallen on the woman and if she marries outside traditional boundaries, she is seen as bringing dishonour on her family and community.