The ad featured a Muslim man and his Hindu wife preparing to bathe a Hindu-style baby. Its tagline reads: “A beautiful confluence of two different religions, traditions and cultures.”
But on Tuesday, just days after the 45-second ad aired, following allegations by Hindu nationalists, including members of Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the Tishnak jewelery brand launched it on TV channels and its social media platform Withdrew from the form.
The ad promoted the “love jihad”, a conspiratorial ideology of radical Hindu groups accusing Muslim men of converting Hindu women through marriage, Observers said.
The withdrawal of the ad had drawn strong criticism from many in India, who said the company had fallen victim to right-wing extremists.
It also highlighted the country’s growing religious polarization under Prime Minister Modi, whose party and supporters view the country as a Hindu nation and accused by critics of normalizing anti-Muslim sentiment. ۔
Tanishq said in a statement on Tuesday that the advertisement was intended to celebrate diversity but had decided to withdraw it due to “different and severe reactions”. It said the decision was made in the “well-being” of the company’s employees and partners. The jewelery brand is part of the Tata Group, one of the largest in India.
This is not the first time an Indian brand has faced Hindu nationalists. An advertisement for detergent powder was criticized last year when it tried to promote its brand in a Hindu-Muslim harmony. It shows a Hindu girl protecting her Muslim friend from the stench of colored powder during the Hindu festival of Holi. The ad called for a boycott and was accused of being “Hindu phobic”.
Shashi Tharoor, a politician from the opposition Congress party, posted a Tank ad on his Twitter account on Tuesday, saying: “Through this beautiful advertisement, the Hindu-Muslim Alliance has been able to highlight the Hindu-Muslim unity What is the demand for a boycott? ” If the ad provoked them so much, Tharoor wrote, “Why don’t they boycott the Hindu-Muslim alliance – India’s longest living symbol?”
Critics of Modi say India’s tradition of diversity has come under attack since his Hindu nationalist BJP came to power in 2014. The party denies the allegations.
There is a growing sense of fear, anger and disgust among Indian Muslims who say that Modi and his party are slowly rejecting them, leaving society to reckon with the future as second-class citizens. At the heart of this realization is the policies and rhetoric of Modi’s party and some of its leaders who have made hate speeches against ordinary Muslims.
India is a predominantly Hindu country, with Muslims making up about 14% of the country’s 1.4 billion people.
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