Tanishq’s Warm Ad Featuring an Interfaith Couple is Being Labelled “Love Jihad”. Goodbye Tolerance

Social Commentary

Tanishq’s Warm Ad Featuring an Interfaith Couple is Being Labelled “Love Jihad”. Goodbye Tolerance

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

A week after calling for the boycott of Mirzapur 2 because its star Ali Fazal and co-producer Farhan Akhtar had spoken out during the anti-CAA agitation, the social media boycott crew is back. This time they’ve set their targets on jewellery brand Tanishq, whose recent ad revolving around inter-faith marriage was accused of “promoting love jihad”.

The ad, which has been shared across social media platforms, shows a Hindu woman, married to a Muslim man, preparing for a baby shower. In it, her in-laws decide to replicate all traditions as per Hindu customs, in what the company said was an attempt to showcase a “beautiful confluence of two different religions, traditions, and cultures.”

However, not everyone agreed with Tanishq, as calls for boycott soon began to grow. Many of these social media warriors claimed the advertisement was promoting “love jihad” a term that has been gaining steam in the last few years.

According to the conspiracy theory floated by Hindutva activists, “love jihad” takes place when Muslim men pretend to fall in love with women from Hindu families with the eventual goal to get them converted them to Islam.

The term started gaining steam on social media after a few cases of conversion were reported in Kerala and Karnataka, but has been discredited several times since.

On Monday, after a few bigots on social media began to allege the brand was promoting conversions, the hashtag “BoycottTanishq” was leading India’s Twitter trends. Even prominent IAS officers, and politicians registered their “outrage” on Twitter.

The worst part of this misplaced outrage is that it isn’t the first time it’s happened. In March last year, the same allegations were levelled against a Surf Excel ad.

In that ad, a young girl is seen helping her neighbour finish his namaz so he could join the Holi festivities with everyone else. However, the innocence of the ad, and the bigger meaning behind it was lost on sections of social media, which once again alleged that the brand was promoting “love jihad”.

It’s no surprise by now that Indians have a tendency to boycott everything they don’t agree with. In the last few weeks alone, social media has attempted to boycott Kapil Sharma, Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb and Mirzapur 2. With the sheer levels of bigotry on display in this case, maybe it’s time we boycott the boycotters instead.