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

Agencies
October 13, 2020

Tanishq.jpg

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
September 5,2021

Mangaluru, Sept 5: The coastal district of Dakshina Kannada, which shares its border with Kerala, has recorded 130 fatalities in August, making it the district with highest number of deaths in the state for the said month.

Bengaluru Urban registered 101 Covid deaths in August. 

One in every five Covid deaths in Karnataka has occurred in Dakshina Kannada in August. The district, in its defence, said 29 of those deaths were of patients from other districts, which if taken into account, the coastal district would still tie with the state capital on the districts with most number of deaths for the month.

According to the officials, 59 per cent of the active cases are in Mangaluru city. Also, 66 per cent of the total active cases are in home isolation. The district administration is mulling over filing FIRs against primary contacts who breach quarantine. 

Dr Ashok H, Covid nodal officer for Dakshina Kannada district, said that the positivity rate over the past seven days in the district has dropped to 2.04 per cent and case fatality rate to 1.43 per cent.

"Out of 2,248 active cases, 1,486 (66.1 per cent), are in home isolation, 544 (24.2 per cent) in hospitals and 218 (9.7 per cent) in Covid Care Centres. The reason for higher hospitalisation rate compared to other districts is that we are admitting nursing and paramedical students, who are testing positive, who don't have severe symptoms, to hospitals so that they compulsorily remain isolated," he said.

"We have 32 paramedical and eight medical colleges. We got clusters from there when we screened 7,000-odd students. Sullia also had 8 per cent positivity rate previously for one month but now has only 145 active cases," he added.

Now the focus is on Beltangady taluk which has the next highest active cases with 296.

"Deaths are high because medical colleges like Yenepoya are getting referrals from other districts under Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka. Earlier we would send them back to their districts but now with the centralised bed management system, deaths of patients from other districts occurring in Mangaluru are being recorded as Dakshina Kannada district's deaths," Dr Ashok said. 

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News Network
September 13,2021

Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 13: An Air India Express flight which took off from Kerala for Sharjah, in the UAE, on Monday morning with 170 passengers was forced to turn back shortly after taking off due to a technical glitch.

The plane, which also had a crew of six, landed safely at Thiruvananthapuram airport and another flight was arranged for the passengers, including five infants, to travel to Sharjah, an Air India Express (AIE) spokesperson said.

According to an official of the airport, the incident occurred at around 7 am.

The AIE spokesperson said the pilots noticed the technical glitch around half an hour after take-off and immediately decided to turn back to Thiruvananthapuram.

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News Network
September 9,2021

Kabul, Sept 9: Cricket Australia said Thursday it would have "no alternative" but to cancel hosting a historic Test match against Afghanistan unless the Taliban backtracks on a reported ban on women playing sport.

The governing body said the first ever men's Test between the two nations was under serious threat after the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, reportedly said women would not play cricket or any other sport under the new regime.

"I don't think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket," Wasiq told Australian broadcaster SBS on Wednesday.

"In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this.

"It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed."

The Taliban said shortly after taking power that the schedule for the Afghanistan men's team would not be interrupted, leading Cricket Australia to announce earlier this month it still hoped to host the landmark match on November 27.

On Thursday, Cricket Australia said driving the growth of women's cricket globally was "incredibly important" to the organisation.

"Our vision for cricket is that it is a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level," it said.

"If recent media reports that women's cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed Test Match due to be played in Hobart."

During their first stint in power, the Taliban banned most forms of entertainment -- including many sports -- and stadiums doubled as public execution venues.

Despite promising to enforce a less strict version of Islamic law this time, the United Nations says women in Afghanistan are being prohibited from leaving home without a male family member and in some areas stopped from working. 

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