Tanishq Ad Controversy Reflects on India’s “Secularism”

The Tanishq ad ‘Ektavam‘ depicting inter-caste unity gets taken down by the Indian netizens for promoting ‘Love Jihad’ in a secular country.

By Rupali Mandal

Tanishq produced a 45-seconds ad to promote ‘Ekatvam’ which featured a Muslim mother-in-law performing a Hindu ritual to respect the faith of her pregnant Hindu daughter-in law. This portrayal of inter-faith marriage attracted criticism from the right-wing supporters on social media, specially Twitter, claiming it to promote ‘love jihad’- a term used by the right-wings which refers to inter-faith relationships, and hurt Hindu sentiments. The ad drew threats of violence on social media.

Within hours of the ad’s release, the hashtag #BoycottTanishq started trending on Twitter, soon after which Tanishq had to take down the ad. The YouTube video of the ad received 2,000 dislikes and only 500 likes in just a day. Controversial actress, Kangana Ranaut criticized the portrayal of the ‘Ekatvam’ in the ad by calling it sexist on Twitter.

In response to the uproar, a company spokesperson stated, ‘The idea behind the ‘Ekatvam’ 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. This film has stimulated divergent and severe reactions, contrary to its very objective.’

Congress MP Sashi Tharoor tweeted in response to the negative remarks against the ad by calling the idea “beautiful”.

The objective of Tanishq behind the ad was to promote secularism and unity but in return it fell prey to communal hatred and violence. However, few netizens backed the Tanishq ad and they appreciated the idea behind it. They criticised Ratan Tata for not taking a stand for the brand and criticised him for taking the ad down.