Tanishq withdraws interfaith family ad after ‘love jihad’ allegation, sparks fresh debate

Agencies
October 13, 2020

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New Delhi, Oct 13: Jewellery brand Tanishq on Tuesday withdrew its ad showing an interfaith family following a sharp backlash on social media with some accusing the company of promoting love jihad' and fake secularism'

The company's move prompted intense debate on social media and elsewhere, just as the ad to promote its jewellery collection Ekatvam (oneness) had deepened faultlines since its release last week.

The 43 second commercial, which led to the hashtag #BoycottTanishq trending on Twitter, shows a pregnant woman being led to her bridal shower, a Hindu custom called godh bharai', by a woman who viewers later realise is her mother-in-law.

The young woman, in a sari and bindi, addresses the older one, in a salwar kurta and a dupatta covering her head, as Ma' and asks, But you don't celebrate this custom? The mother responds with a gentle, The tradition of keeping daughters happy is there in every home. Setting the scene of a composite family, a woman in a hijab, people in saris and a man in a skullcap can be seen in the backdrop.

The description of the video on YouTube 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."

The commercial opened the floodgates of debate and trolling with a flurry of tweets demanding a ban on the advertisement and a boycott of the brand, a Tata product.

Tanishq first disabled comments and likes/dislikes on its ad on YouTube, and on Tuesday withdrew the video altogether. No reasons were given for dropping the ad. Tanishq has not yet responded to PTI's request for a response or issued a statement.

The removal of the ad led to fresh debate on Twitter with several people, including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, writer Chetan Bhagat and actor Swara Bhasker calling out the trolls.

"So Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott of [email protected] for highlighting Hindu-Muslim unity through this beautiful ad. If Hindu-Muslim ekatvam irks them so much, why don't they boycott the longest surviving symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in the world -- India?" tweeted Tharoor.

His party colleague Abhishek Singhvi joined him.

"Those boycotting the Tanishq ad don't like seeing daughter in law(s) happy around mother in law's. You have seen too many soaps & too much prime times news," tweeted Singhvi.

Two States author Bhagat said the company should not get bullied.

As a TATA group company, expected #Tanishq to be fairer and braver. If you have done nothing wrong, if you have shown something beautiful about our country, don't get bullied. Be Indian. Be strong, he said.

Actor Swara Bhasker was also critical and put out a caustic tweet saying, Such a large company, such a weak spine.

"TBH, reacting to paid twitter trends and manufactured outrage is just myopic. The ad was lovely. Standing by it would have made 'em cooler, foresighted and balsy. But alas #tanishq," added her colleague Richa Chadha.

Blogger and writer Richa Singh came out in the company's support, saying those preaching that Tanishq should not have withdrawn the ad obviously don't own jewellery shops.

In a hooligan environment like the present they will first protect their employees' and business interest and then think about your inquilab. So please, drop it, she tweeted.

The polarisation was evident right since October 9 when the ad was first released with many people slamming Tanishq for projecting fictional interfaith union and promoting love jihad', a reference to an alleged campaign by Muslims to convert Hindu girls in the guise of love. And many others lauding it for showing a syncretic, harmonious India.

"Tanishq jewellery's 'Ekatvam' series' ad projects a fictional 'interfaith' union, a Muslim family, a Hindu daughter-in-law being allowed to do a Hindu ritual. Nothing but promotion of love jihad #BoycottTanishq," tweeted former IAS officer and author Sanjay Dixit.

BJP leader and former MP Geetha Kothapalli described the ad as bizarre, highly objectionable and normalising #LoveJihad .

I want to know who directed this Ad and who wrote? Pull this AD down #BoycottTanishq," she said on Twitter.

"Why are you showing a Hindu "daughter in law" to a Muslim family and glorifying it? Why don't you show a Muslim daughter in law in your ads with a Hindu family? Look like you are promoting #LoveJihad & favouring a particular Faith only...," said another Twitter user, Sharma Khemchand.

As the clamour for the boycott of Tanishq grew, there were many who came out in its support. Many kudos came its way for "not shying away from addressing one of the biggest divides" in the nation.

Journalist and columnist De posted a tweet with the hashtag #downwithbigotry'. "Good for you @TanishqJewelry. If only we had more ads like this sensitive and brilliant one promoting love between different communities, India would be a far better place for all. Shame on trolls," she said.

Some used humour to dispel the tension.

"People are trending #BoycottTanishq as if they buy jewelry from them on daily basis," tweeted @sandeep90s.

"Thank you for making us notice the beautiful #tanishq ad dear trolls!" tweeted @shaminaaaa.

It is not the first time that Tanishq has broken stereotype and challenged societal norms with its ad.

In 2013, it promoted remarriage in an ad made by Lowe Lintas. However, back then the commercial didn't attract any controversy and was widely appreciated.

The agency received plaudits this time too.

"Good on you, @TanishqJewelry and @MLLintasGroup for making the ad for Ekatvam. It must NOT have been an easy call to take, you will probably lose some business, but you did the right thing by not shying away from addressing one of the biggest divides in this nation#tanishq," tweeted @iSrikanth.

Last year, Surf Excel was severely criticised for an ad showing Hindu-Muslim unity.

The detergent brand, known for its tagline daag acche hai', was subjected to the '#Boycott Surf Excel' trend on Twitter. Its Holi ad featured two children, a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy. The girl dressed in white is seen riding a bicycle and challenging neighbourhood kids to splash colour on her. It is later revealed that she did so to protect her Muslim friend who had to go to the mosque for prayers.

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News Network
January 19,2023

Mangaluru, Jan 19: Dharmendra, the general secretary of the Karnataka state unit of Akhil Bharath Hindu Mahasabha, who is reportedly mulling contesting from Mangaluru North constituency in 2023 assembly polls, has raised voice against the reservation policy of Basavaraj Bommai led BJP government. 

Speaking to media persons here, the Hindutva leader said that movement against reservation will be carried out shortly. A meeting of those who oppose reservation will be convened in Mangaluru to decide on the future course of action, he added.

Already, anti-reservation committees have been constituted in 30 districts in the state and a protest is being planned at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru. He said that if the Congress divided the country on the basis of religion, the BJP is dividing Hindu society in an organised manner through reservation, which is against the constitution.

Dharmendra said: “Some mutt heads are engaged in a protest demanding reservation to a particular caste, and the BJP government is heeding to their demand and is announcing reservation.

The question is whether the act of mutt heads is justifiable.” He said the elected representatives have to be taught about reservation as envisaged by Dr B R Ambedkar in the constitution. Ambedkar wanted to give reservations only to the suppressed class for a few years to bring them to the mainstream of society.

Instead of allowing people to lead a dignified life with self-respect, the government is making them beg for quota, which is condemnable. He accused the BJP of using reservation for vote bank politics and to gain political mileage. ABHM is also considering approaching the high court in this regard.

Meanwhile, Mahasabha has decided to field candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in all constituencies in DK district. Dharmendra is likely to contest from Mangaluru North constituency.

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News Network
February 2,2023

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Lucknow, Feb 2: "I struggled," Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan said minutes after he walked out of jail on Thursday to camera crews, a small curious crowd -- and to his wife and teen son, waiting patiently, just as they had for the more than two years since he was imprisoned on his way to Hathras.

The relief was writ large on their faces but so was the pain. Kappan and three others were arrested in October 2020 while they were going to the Uttar Pradesh town where a Dalit woman died allegedly after being raped. They were accused of trying to instigate violence over the death of the Hathras woman.

"I am coming to Delhi. I have to stay there for six weeks," Kappan told PTI.

"I struggled more," he laughed when asked how life had been in jail without saying anything more.

In his two and a half years in jail, his mother died. "Her name was Kadijah. She is not there to see Kappan coming home," Kappan's wife Raihana said.

"The Supreme Court granted bail in the UAPA case and his innocence was revealed. Two and a half years is not a short time. We have experienced a lot of pain and suffering. But I am happy that justice, though belated, has been served," she told PTI.

"I repeat that Kappan is a media person," Raihana stressed.

The couple has three children -- Muzammil (19), Zidhan (14) and Mehnaz (nine). "Our children are waiting to welcome him home. Their happiness was taken away. Can they forget their father? They are proud to say that Sidhique Kappan, a journalist, is their father."

Waiting outside with his mother was their eldest Muzammil, who also reiterated that his father was a journalist.

"What is the cause of my father's severe suffering for two and half years? Now we are waiting for his freedom. We are very happy. We thanks all those who have been with us."

According to Kappan's lawyer Mohamed Dhanish KS, the journalist had been lodged in the Mathura and Lucknow district jails and had been out twice -- once when he got Covid and was admitted at AIIMS, Delhi, and the second time to meet his ailing mother.

Police alleged that Kappan had links with the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI), and charged him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code.

In September last year, the Supreme Court granted him bail in connection with that case. A bench headed by then Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit directed Kappan to remain in Delhi for six weeks after his release from an Uttar Pradesh prison.

However, he continued to be in jail because of a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate. 

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News Network
February 1,2023

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Islamabad, Feb 1: Speaking on the deadly suicide bombing inside a mosque in Peshawar on Tuesday, Pakistan Defence Minister Khwaja Asif said worshippers were not killed during prayers even in India, the Dawn reported.

The suicide attack left 100 people dead and scores more injured.

Expressing his views on the attack at the National Assembly, Asif said, "Worshippers weren't killed during prayers even in India or Israel but it happened in Pakistan."

The explosion took place in the central hall of the mosque on Monday around 1 pm.

Calling for unity in the fight against terrorism, the minister said it was time for Pakistan to set its "house in order," according to Dawn.

Recalling terrorism incidents from 2010- 2017, the minister said, "This war started from Swat during the PPP's tenure and it was concluded during the PML-N's previous tenure, and peace was established in the country from Karachi to Swat."

"But if you remember, a year-and-a-half or two years ago [...] we were given a briefing two, three times in this same hall in which it was clearly stated that talks could be carried out against these people and they can be brought toward peace," he added.

Asif said varying opinions had risen on the matter but despite that, no "conclusive decision" was taken.

He further stated that thousands of people were left without jobs after the Afghans came and settled in Pakistan, the Dawn report stated, adding that Asif also said the first proof surfaced when the people of Swat protested against the resettled people.

He noted that the people of Wana also protested and expressed similar emotions. "I am mentioning these incidents because of the tragedy that occurred yesterday [...] the terrorist was standing in the frontline during Zuhr prayers where he detonated himself," he said.

Asif said the prime minister and the army chief visited Peshawar where they were given a briefing on the attack. "But this is a tragedy where we require the same resolve and unity which was expressed in 2011-2012," the minister said.

"I will not talk for long but I will say briefly that at the start, we sowed the seeds for terrorism," the Defence minister said.

He said that when Russia invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan offered its services to the United States 'on rent'. "General Zia was the ruler at the time [...] the agreement made with the US went on for eight to nine years after which the US went back to Washington celebrating the fact that Russia was defeated," he added.

Meanwhile, India, on Tuesday, condoled the loss of lives in the deadly mosque attack.

Taking to Twitter, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi posted, "India extends its deep condolences to the families of the victims of the terror attack in Peshawar yesterday. We strongly condemn this attack, which has taken the lives of so many people."

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