A massive controversy broke out when Tata Group’s jewellery brand Tanishq released a new advertisement which depicted a Hindu woman married into a Muslim family, preparing for her godbharai (baby shower).
The ad released on October 9 shows a pregnant Hindu woman walking with her mother-in-law, who distinctly belonged to the Muslim faith. The Muslim mother-in-law then leads the Hindu daughter-in-law to the garden area, where the god-bharai ceremony has been set up according to Hindu traditions.
The Tanishq ‘Love Jihad’ ad that has now been taken down. Disgusting! pic.twitter.com/QuS1XBTVIO— Kashyap Amrika Observer (@YearOfTheKraken) October 12, 2020
Shocked, the daughter-in-law asks the mother-in-law why the ceremony was set up in that manner since “these things are not followed in the house”. To that, the smiling mother-in-law tells her that while this might not be their tradition (since they are a Muslim family), making daughters happy is a universal tradition.
Tanishq advertisement removed after widespread outrage on social media platforms
This glorification of interfaith marriage did not sit well with the social media users, who were quick to criticise the jewellery brand for its attempt to push soft bigotry through its commercial. A bevy of social media users expressed their fury over the advertisement, taking to social media platforms to call for the boycott of the brand.
Netizens were outraged that through its advertisement, Tanishq attempted a subtle promotion and normalisation of ‘love jihad’ under the umbrella of prestigious ‘Tata Group’. Soon enough, social media platforms were replete with posts criticising the organisation with #BoycottTanishq being among the top-trending topics on Twitter.
In the face of mounting backlash its controversial advertisement was attracting, the company took down the commercial from its official YouTube channel. The controversy should have ended there but it was given a fresh lease of life by elitist liberals who could not fathom the fact that the jewellery brand heeded to the online criticism and decided to make amends for hurting the sentiments of people.
Chetan Bhagat and left-leaning ‘intellectuals’ indulge in elitist snobbery to mock the critics of the advertisement
Scores of distressed ‘liberals’ could not hide their frustration at Tanishq’s decision of withdrawing the controversial advertisement. Author Chetan Bhagat was one amongst them who took to Twitter to deride the critics of the advertisement. Bhagat posted a condescending tweet, expressing his disapproval over the removal of the advertisement by the jewellery brand.
Dear #tanishq, most people attacking you can’t afford you anyway.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 13, 2020
And given where their thinking will take this economy, they soon won’t have jobs and hence definitely won’t able to buy anything from #tanishq in the future too. Don’t worry about them.
Bhagat added that those attacking Tanishq are incapable of affording them and given where the economy is headed, they would fail in retaining their jobs and therefore would not afford to buy Tanishq jewellery even in the future.
Similar arguments that those criticising the advertisement were not affluent enough to afford Tanishq jewellery were also raised by others who found it profoundly difficult to digest that the company had taken cognisance of the brickbats thrown at it and attempted to pacify its critics by taking off the contentious advertisement.
Boycott karne se pehle dekh lena khareedne ki aukaat hai bhi ya nahi! #tanishq— ruchi kokcha (@ruchikokcha) October 12, 2020
On the surface, these arguments by Bhagat and other social media users questioning the ability of critics to afford Tanishq jewellery to criticise their advertisement reeks off elitist snobbery. It’s a bit rich coming from Bhagat, who prides himself to be an author of the masses, to brazenly indulge in elitism and disparage the masses as being incapable of affording Tanishq Jewellery.
This is really a puerile argument from Bhagat, given that affordability has never been a criterion for voicing criticism. People, regardless of whether they can afford a product or not, have all the right to express their displeasure if an organisation has adversely affected their deeply-held beliefs and sensitivities.
Even if one assumes that those criticising the organisation over its advertisement cannot afford to buy its products, one of the maxims that dictate business says that ‘never antagonise your prospective customers’. An organisation can ill-afford to alienate its potential customers by not heeding to their criticism and continue engaging in activities deemed unacceptable by its future and present customers. However, Bhagat and left-leaning liberals seem to be unaware of the relationship of organisations with their customers, both current and future.
Left-leaning liberals leeching off public exchequer while questioning others’ ability to buy Tanishq jewellery
Furthermore, the assertion that the right-wing critics cannot afford to buy Tanishq Jewellery is too broad in scope and therefore liable to be proven wrong. In fact, most of the right-wing critics who have flagged the controversial advertisement and its subtle undertones of promoting ‘love jihad’, are working professional, adding valuable contribution to the betterment of the society by generating wealth and paying taxes to the government, unlike most of the left-leaning ‘liberals’ arm-chair critics. It is incredibly foolish of the left-leaning ‘liberals’, most of whom have leeched off the public exchequer to fund their interminable studies, to mock others for not being able to afford expensive jewellery.
Also, these left-leaning ‘liberals’, who have a habit of cutting themselves as social activists championing the cause of the weak and poor in the society against the “crony-capitalist” government, in reality only pay lip service to the lofty ideal of working for the marginalised and the vulnerable. All they want is to be amongst the elites and pontificate about everything under the sun to the “unwashed masses”. So when they see “unwashed masses” raising their opinions and getting large organisations to backpedal, it was but natural that it would set the liberals’ teeth on edge.