×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

A sign of our hate-stricken times

Last Updated : 15 October 2020, 21:38 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

The intolerant response to a Tanishq advertisement featuring an inter-faith marriage is a sign of our stricken times when all human interactions are measured in terms of separateness and exclusion rather than of amity and unity. The response was not just one of disapproval but was intimidatory and violent, as most responses of disagreement have been of late in the country. The advertisement featured an inter-faith event in a family setting and depicted a baby shower for a Hindu mother-to-be in the home of her Muslim husband. In normal and saner times, it would have been welcomed as a positive sign of our liberal society or, at the very least, simply ignored as an advertisement. But it has been dubbed as an instance of the dubious idea of ‘love jihad’, a manufactured threat, and troll armies have bombarded the company and those behind the ad with hate speech, abuses and threats of violence. The company has withdrawn the ad.

The Tata Group, which owns Tanishq, has been known as much for its ethical standards as for its professional norms and practices. It has promoted the best social values in its ads, campaigns and activities. It has run campaigns on the theme of communal and social harmony. It is no pushover and has the wherewithal to stand its ground in the face of pressure or coercion. That is why, the decision to withdraw the advertisement is again a sign of the times, and a pointer that defences against the rising tide of unreason and hatred are weakening. The company might have felt that lives and property would have been endangered, and more importantly, no protection would have come forth from the authorities and law enforcement forces. When businesses, individuals, organisations or other entities feel that they cannot live by and sustain the right values of life and follow the best ideals that they believe in, it is not just the rule of law but the bigger idea of life in a constitutional, democratic society that is in peril.

When an advertisement with a social message is opposed and forced out of public view, it is not just freedom of expression but that message itself that is under attack. It is the idea of Hindus and Muslims living together and establishing friendly relations at individual, family and social levels that is opposed and rejected by the attack on this advertisement. In ‘New India’, the relationship has to be one of exclusion and even hostility, and not of understanding and friendliness. Anything that depicts otherwise is unacceptable. The message is that no area of life, including the arts, family, society and politics, is exempt from this.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 15 October 2020, 21:38 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT