FabIndia withdraws advertisement after social media row

BJP Yuva Morcha President Tejasvi Surya took to Twitter to slam the advertisement
Last Updated 19 October 2021, 23:58 IST

Ethnic garment retailer FabIndia courted a controversy over advertisement of its festive collection titled ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’, suggesting that the latest offering was linked to Diwali.

The retailer was forced to withdraw the advertisement as also a feature on the collection in a fashion magazine after facing a massive online backlash for “defacing” and “abrahamisation” of Hindu festivals.

Founded in 1960 by John Bissell, an American national who had travelled to India to advise the Handicraft Board to create a market for handloom fabrics, FabIndia had posted advertisements on Twitter on October 9, to promote the ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’ collection.

FabIndia was trolled on social media for what some said was unnecessarily uplifting secularism and Muslim ideologies in a Hindu festival, saying it hurt their religious sentiments.

After pulling down the advertisement and the feature, FabIndia claimed that the ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’ collection was not a part of its Diwali Collection.

“Our current capsule of products under the name Jashn-e-Riwaaz is a celebration of Indian traditions. The phrase means that, literally. The capsule is not our Diwali Collection of products. Our Diwali collection is called ‘Jhilmil si Diwali’. It is yet to be launched,” a FabIndia spokesperson said.

Several users of social media claimed that there was no need for the retailer to “deconstruct the Hindu festival and infuse it with secularism”.

BJP Yuva Morcha President Tejasvi Surya took to Twitter to slam the advertisement and asked his followers to impose “economic cost” on FabIndia for such “deliberate misadventures”.

“Deepavali is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz. This deliberate attempt of abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out. And brands like @fabindiaNews must face economic cost for such deliberate misadventures,” Surya, a Lok Sabha member from Bengaluru South said on Monday.

“Wow @FabindiaNews great job at de-Hinduising Deepawali! Call it a ‘festival of love and light’, title the collection ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’, take Bindis off foreheads of models but expect Hindus to buy your overpriced, mass-produced products in the name of ‘homage to Indian culture’,” author Shefali Vaidya said.

“Boycott Fabindia is trending because they’ve poetically named their Diwali collection - Jashn-e-Riwaaz. This is beyond ridiculous. How does naming a collection in Urdu lessen your Diwali for you,” author Shunali Khullar Shroff said.

Earlier, Tata Group’s jewellery brand Tanishq was forced to withdraw an advertisement that showed an interfaith couple at a baby shower organised for the Hindu bride by her Muslim in-laws. Clothing brand Manyavar too was at the receiving end when its advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt in wedding attire, appeared to question an old tradition.

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(Published 19 October 2021, 06:02 IST)

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