Tanishq Row: These Heartwarming Interfaith Love Stories Are Busting the Myth Called “Love Jihad”

Social Commentary

Tanishq Row: These Heartwarming Interfaith Love Stories Are Busting the Myth Called “Love Jihad”

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

The Tanishq ad, which was recently pulled down after being trolled for promoting “love jihad”, has set off a heated debate over the last week. As reports come in that a Gujarat outlet of the jewellery store was forced to give an apology, however, Tanishq has also received an outpouring of support for its advertisement that featured an interfaith couple.

This support has manifested itself on social media, where several interfaith couples have shared their stories in the last few days to counter some of the hateful comments being spread by the boycott gang. Actor Zeeshan Ayyub’s wife Rasika Agashe was one of the first few to speak out, sharing a picture of her own baby shower, and appealing for more people to learn about the Special Marriage Act before making allegations of “love jihad”.

Actor Mini Mathur, meanwhile, took to Instagram to share her experience of being married to director Kabir Khan. In a series of stories, Mathur called out the hate that was being enabled in the country, and said the advertisement was a small indication of how much love and support she had received in her own interfaith marriage.

“By not speaking up, you are party to normalising of hate between communities. Also, why and how does religion matter? What role does it/should it play in our generation? I’d rather the world turn atheist that have hate as religion. And wanting peace and harmony in our country does not make me or any of us, less of a patriot,” she wrote

TV host Tehseen Poonawalla also issued a strong statement on Twitter in response to an IAS officer’s claim that the advertisement was a product of fiction. He spoke about how his mother, who is Muslim, had gifted his Hindu wife a mandir on her birthday.

As the dispute continues to trend on social media, several others also spoke about their experience being in interfaith marriages — none of which involved “forced conversions” or “love jihad”, as alleged by the trolls who called for the ad’s boycott a week ago.

A story published in The Indian Express, written by Sameena Dalwai, who spoke of her experience being the child of an interfaith couple, was also widely shared on Twitter. Some of the prominent faces who praised the essay included Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and filmmaker Danish Aslam.

So even as the debate heats up over the “love jihad” conspiracy theory with the Tanishq ad, it’s worth remembering that interfaith marriages both exist and thrive in our country. Kudos to all the couples who countered the hate and shared their heartwarming stories.