The Messaging of Tanishq Advert
Indian advertisements have evolved. They have not just sold products but also discussed social stereotypes and promoted patriotism. The advertisements have reflected the change in society, its customs and cultures, its economical flux, and religious sentiments. Although the advertisements are for a limited time period they leave a lasting impression on the people. An advertisement by Tata Group’s Jewellery brand Tanishq published on October 9, 2020, on their YouTube channel received backlash, the advertisement was based on the narrative of interfaith marriage. Many considered it as the plug in of the love-jihad conspiracy theory.
The video presents to us a Hindu woman dressed in saree who is married in a Muslim family where there is an attempt to plan and celebrate the baby shower. The woman is loved and made to feel at home. Her customs are dear to her and therefore keeping them in mind the family decides to arrange and decorate their house and celebrate the occasion according to the Hindu traditions and customs. It is also an attempt by the family to show her their love that they are able to break boundaries and celebrate in a way that they usually would not have. It is a beautiful union of two religions, two different hearts, two different traditions, and two different cultures.
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But our collective consciousness gives us the back story. The back story that is not being represented by the advertisement; the advertisement is clear in its messaging, where it says that there are customs and traditions in all the houses to keep a girl child happy whether a Hindu or a Muslim or any other religion for that matter. Now that they have become one, why should one not try everything possible to make her happy? Whether the ‘Indian Daughter’ is being loved or not is the question we need to mull upon. Given the recent happenings in our country, it seriously proves to us that there is a vacuum that needs to be filled.
The back story that the netizens are speaking about is the Romeo-jihad conspiracy that allegedly the Muslim men target non-Muslim women for converting to Islam pretending to be in love with the Muslim men. Kerala and Karnataka were the states that happened to be where these conversions took place. There are instances of Muslim men pretending to be Hindus and marrying Hindu women under deception and later getting them converted. Many women have become victims of the abuses that they have to undergo later on in their lives. They have become victims of love-jihad. Inter-religious marriages are always a problem in many places. Either the parents do not accept the girl or the boy for belonging to another religion.
The advertisement may portray a happy family contrasting to the reality but that is what Tanishq aims at achieving. A family wherein we will not question religion but celebrate every religion and its customs. Each of these religions leads us to our God. Why not celebrate them with pomp and glory? The Hindu woman could definitely be replaced to a Muslim woman or a Christian woman with the message being the same. But what is the difficulty in imagining it now? The advertisement was actually focusing on buying Tanishq products that celebrate womanhood. But the audience focused on the back-story of the storyline that presented the product.
The back-story is nevertheless important as it drives home the point that there is a lot of wrong happening in the country that we are living in. There is forced conversion that is still prevalent in certain parts of the country. The racket is systematically organized and therefore needs attention. Religious conversions need to be checked and monitored. Because many forced conversions lead to murder and harassment of women. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on September 18, 2020, asked the officials to formulate strategies to prevent religious conversions in the name of love and marriage. There is still a lot to be done to educate and empower women.
Boycotting the advertisement could be a way to sensitize people. To make it known to the citizens of the country that we will not support such forced crimes towards ‘Indian Daughters.’ The ‘Indian Daughter’ needs her voice to be heard. So that she be able to celebrate her life. We are all one, this needs to ring in our ears more often. It is enlivening to note that there are people who are recognizing the harm that is being done generally to people of different genders. Not just a recognition but also vehement action being taken to address the issue that is at hand.
The advertisement by Tanishq is an invitation to think beyond religion and embrace the reality and importance of a girl. To think beyond traditions and customs, to provide happiness and joy to a girl. To do everything possible in one’s calibre to wipe off the atrocities that women face and live in society as one family. Religion shouldn’t be a cause of division but the very reason that unites us in love.
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