An advertisement by the Titan's Tanishq, a popular jewellery brand, has been pulled off air after vicious trolling on social media with #BoycottTanishq trending on Twitter on Monday.
The advertisement featuring an interfaith baby shower, released last week, was targeted by a section on social media who felt it "promoted love jihad". But many others condemned the bigotry and hate-filled posts pushing the boycott trend, calling it completely against the Idea of India.
Those supporting the ad also urged industrialist Ratan Tata to stay strong in the face of such hate and not back down. Some also asked why Tanishq had bowed to pressure and taken the ad off air.
Noted author Chetan Bhagat and former Congress leader Sanjay Jha both called out to Mr Tata and Tanishq, telling them "don't get bullied".
Mr Bhagat tweeted: "As a TATA group company, expected #Tanishq to be fairer and braver. If you have done nothing wrong, if you have shown something beautiful about our country, don't get bullied. Be Indian. Be strong."
As a TATA group company, expected #Tanishq to be fairer and braver. If you have done nothing wrong, if you have shown something beautiful about our country, don't get bullied. Be Indian. Be strong.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 13, 2020
Mr Jha had a simple message for Mr Tata: "Dear Mr Ratan Tata. Be a titan. Don't let bigots frighten you. Thanks!"
Dear Mr Ratan Tata— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) October 13, 2020
Be a titan. Don't let bigots frighten you.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said he was "shocked at the controversy triggered by a beautiful Tanishq ad in which a mother-in-law's acceptance and love for her daughter-in-law has been attacked...". "The bigots have taken hate (to an) ludicrous extreme," he tweeted.
Our multi-religious, multi-ethic and multi-lingual cultural mosaic is the beauty and strength of India and that must be upheld and protected from hate mongers.— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) October 13, 2020
Meanwhile, others launched a savage assault on Tanishq and Tata, with some accusing them of promoting only "Muslim" jewellery on their website and others calling the brand "pseudo secular".
"I strongly opposed this type of love jihad please Hindu jago," one user tweeted.
Titan stock fell sharply amid the trolling today, ending 2.1 per cent down on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and 2.5 per cent down on the National Stock Exchange (NSE).
After the fall screenshots with the hashtag #BoycottTanishq began trending on Twitter. "This is our power... @TanishqJewelry," one user wrote in reference.
Others quickly picked up on that claim, and that no "Hindu" jewellery was found on Tanishq's website.
Earlier in the day Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Abhishek Singhvi, as well as Shamina Shafiq - a former member of the National Commission for Women - spoke out in support of the ad and Tanishq.
Mr Tharoor praised the ad as an example of Hindu-Muslim unity and said: "If Hindu-Muslim "ekatvam" irks them so much, why don't they boycott the longest surviving symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in the world -- India?"
So Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott of @TanishqJewelry for highlighting Hindu-Muslim unity through this beautiful ad. If Hindu-Muslim “ekatvam” irks them so much, why don't they boycott the longest surviving symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in the world -- India? pic.twitter.com/cV0LpWzjda— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 13, 2020
Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi also joined those tweeting against the outrage. Ex-member of the National Commission of Women Shamina Shafiq also backed the message of interfaith harmony, saying: "Thank you for making us notice the beautiful #tanishq ad dear trolls!"
Those boycotting the Tanishq ad don't like seeing daughter in law(s) happy around mother in law's. You have seen too many soaps & too much prime times news.— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) October 13, 2020
However, some social media users were not ok with the ad's message.
Khemchand Sharma, who identifies himself as a member of the BJP, tweeted: "@TanishqJewelry Why are you showing a Hindu 'daughter in law' to a muslim family and glorifying it? Why dont you show a Muslim daughter in law in your ads with a Hindu family? Look like you are promoting #LoveJihad & favouring a particular Faith only... #BoycottTanishq. (sic)"
.@TanishqJewelry :— khemchand sharma #IStandWithFarmersBill (@SharmaKhemchand) October 12, 2020
Why are you showing a Hindu "daughter in law" to a muslim family and glorifying it?
Why dont you show a Muslim daughter in law in your ads with a Hindu family?
Look like you are promoting #LoveJihad & favouring a particular Faith only...#BoycottTanishq
Many such tweets were shared using the hashtag "#BoycottTanishq for Playing Jihadi Card for Brand Promotion (Sic)". Another tweet read.
Another social media user wrote: . "This is hypocrisy from Tanishq!!! #BoycottTanishq"
The ad shows a pregnant woman in a sari escorted by a woman she calls "ma (mother)" to a baby shower ceremony. At the end the young woman asks the older woman, apparently her mother-in-law, "but this ceremony is not held at your home...".
The mother-in-law, wearing a suit and her head covered with a dupatta, replies: "Isn't it a tradition for every home to keep daughters happy?"
The ad is no longer on Tanishq's YouTube channels of after a barrage of tweets against the ad.