The Tanishq Love Jihad ad controversy has opened a can of worms on social media. Following outrage on social media, Tanishq took down its remarkably culturally sensitive and obtuse ad on Monday evening. Since then, a Tanishq showroom in Gujarat has gone so far as to offer a condemnation of the ad and issued a profuse apology to Hindu society.
However, it is not the first time that an ad agency has portrayed a series of events that is starkly at odds with observable reality. Furthermore, brands have made it a habit of guilt-tripping the Hindu community and portray the impression that Hindus are bigoted and intolerant towards the Muslim community while the latter is always keen on building good relationships with the former. This scapegoating of the Hindu community for communal tensions is highly condemnable and rather disgusting.
We decided to go through advertisements that attempt such a mischievous endeavour. In a compilation of “5 Best Creative Indian Ads About Hindu Muslim”, at least two were overtly anti-Hindu. And a third used a Hindu girl to make its point regarding ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb’. In the first ad, a Hindu man is shown becoming hesitant to buy an idol of Ganapati Bappa when he realises that the idol-maker is a Muslim.
While the Hindu customer is shown as intolerant initially, the Muslim man is depicted as genial and kind whose behaviour eventually melts the heart of the customer. This is not just a one-off advertisement but a regular feature.
In the second advertisement, the husband in an old Hindu couple is shown unwilling to accept an invitation for tea at the house of their Muslim neighbour. The Hindu couple was struggling to open the lock of their home and eventually decided to take up the invitation. Soon, differences appeared to melt over a cup of Red Label Tea.
In the third ad, of Surf Excel, a young Hindu girl tells the neighbourhood kids to shower colours on her. Ultimately, we find out in the ad that the Hindu girl actually wanted the neighbourhood kids to run out of colours so she could escort a Muslim child to the Mosque for Namaaz. Once the colours were over, the Muslim boy sits on the girl’s cycle in his pristine white kurta and is then escorted to the Mosque.
Then there was this rather long video where a Hindu boy was shown invoking Allah to convince his elderly Muslim friend. He then tells his mom “bismillah e rahman e rahim” when his mother asks him what the Panditji said. The mom asks with a grimace, “Where did you go, Rahul?” Again, it is the Hindu on whose shoulders the burden of secularism lies.
Another short-film depicts a Muslim man wrongly being targeted by Hindus for apparently stealing a bike. The reason for such suspicion was apparently because he had a photo of Ganapati on his vehicle. The short film appears tailor-made to propagate the mythical ‘Dara Hua Musalman’ narrative. The Muslim man is seen wearing a skull cap and is extremely polite while the Hindus are shown as rowdy and abusive.
The police also arrives at the scene and immediately assumes that he has stolen the bike. After preliminary checks confirmed that the bike was indeed his, he confirmed that he had kept the Ganapati photo because he was donated a heart by a Hindu man. And when he came to know that the Hindu man was a devotee of Ganapati, he placed a photo of the Hindu God on the vehicle.
These are just five instances which demonstrate a mythical reality where Hindus are portrayed in poor light to further the narrative of ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb’. Such advertisements and short films can be found in abundance while the reverse scenario is virtually non-existent. It only goes on to show that there is a dedicated agenda underway to peddle a particular narrative where Hindus are cast in poor light. The Tanishq ad is part of the same agenda where the burden of secularism and tolerance is placed only and squarely on the shoulders of the Hindu community.