Can We Really Expect Tanishq to Take a Stand When Its Employees Are Being Threatened?

Social Commentary

Can We Really Expect Tanishq to Take a Stand When Its Employees Are Being Threatened?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Tata’s jewellery brand Tanishq put out an advertisement showcasing harmony in an interfaith marriage, and the country lost its shit. Targeted campaigns to #BoycottTanishq were organised (obviously), and prime-time anchors hosted debates around the dreaded T word – tolerance. 

While many on social media claimed that everyone has a “right to boycott” and express their “displeasure” online, the consequences have gotten real for some people. A Tanishq store manager in Gujarat was forced to write an apology letter and a brand manager’s Linkedin profile and contact number were widely shared, resulting in him receiving death threats.

The store was reportedly targeted by a mob on Monday night in Gujarat’s Kutch district. The manager of the Gandhidham showroom was made to write an apology note by the mob. “The Tanishq ad up in several media platforms is disgraceful. Gandhidham, Tanishq apologises to Hindu community of the entire Kutch district,” the manager is said to have written in the note, which was pasted by the mob on the store.

“On Oct 12, two people came to Tanishq store in Gandhidham and demanded to put up an apology in Gujarati. The shop owner had fulfilled the demand but he was getting threat calls from Kutch. The news about the store being attacked is false,” said Mayur Patil, SP, Kutch (East), Gujarat, told NDTV. However, an Indian Express report says that around 120 people gathered in front of the showroom.

Meanwhile, the brand manager, whose profile was made public and his contact number widely circulated on social media, was forced to delete this social media account. NDTV reported through its sources that the manager was not related to the now controversial ad campaign. But trolls don’t care to check for facts; a mere Muslim surname was enough for them to outrage them.

The safety and security of the staff is one of the reasons the jewellery brand decided to take down the advertisement. “We are deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions and withdraw this film keeping in mind the hurt sentiments and well being of our employees, partners and store staff,” Tanishq said in a statement.

The harmless advertisement has been trolled for the last few days on social media for “promoting love jihad” and the anti-Tanishq brigade isn’t letting up. India once took pride in its interfaith harmony, how did we get here?

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