Nothing Is Truly Apolitical Especially In An Ever-Changing Economy

Written by Asiya Anwar

Featured image by Henry Taylor

In the wake of the recent backlash suffered by the makers of the recent Tanishq advertisement, it has become imperative for brands (and advantaged people from various professional backgrounds) to take a stand against the growing communal hatred, dismissal of inter-faith harmony, and in the general spewing of enmity between (one of the) minority and majority groups of the country.

The advertisement which portrayed a baby shower ceremony in the procession of an interfaith

couple was met with tremendous backlash primarily on social media with people calling out the

mere fictional depiction of a joyous celebration observed by the family of an inter-faith couple.

The act of boycotting the advertisement altogether is a stark reflection of the present definition

of secularism, bigotry practised by the majority of the population of the country and the abysmal

mindset of what Indian society has come to become in the past few years.

Intolerance and religion bias lies at the core of the problem the advertisement was subjected to

making it just another example of the prevalent political bigotry. The sheer depiction of the idea

of co-existence of people belonging from a different religion, ethnic, cultural backgrounds seems

to be an alienated thought enough to provoke dishonourable comments such as “love jihad”.

Tanishq, a division of Titan, and a brand owned by Tata sons succumbed to pulling down the

advertisement reasoning the “hurt sentiments” of their employees.

Commerce and retail sector, which is ever-growing and substantially expanding in nature,

represents one of the major sectors of a country and especially an under-developing country

like ours. It is no undisclosed fact that this sector thrives heavily to the consumers for its entire

popularity, growth and profit.

As per the Advertising Standards Council Of India (ASCI) which comes under Article 25 of the

Indian Constitution, an objective clearly states that advertisers have a social responsibility

towards the people of the nation with respect to the kind of advertisements they release which

also translates to the fact that it indirectly becomes the responsibility of the brand owners as

well to stand true to the objective.

This is to say that brand, company and media owners have a personal role to fulfil in

supervising and maintaining the secularism, economical and socio-political aspects of the

the country they abundantly profit from.

Two widely known Indian brands, Parle and Bajaj have already declared the discontinuation of

their advertisements from various media channels owing to their portrayal of prejudiced, illiberal,

hate inducing content which tends to disrupt the harmony of a country which represents people

from multicultural and multiracial backgrounds.

The biased and clearly ridiculous criticism the Tanishq Ad makers had to go through is a

testimony of the becoming of a democratic yet a highly intolerant society this country is

heading towards.

As a citizen, categorised into different areas based on age, gender, race, religion, the most

important classification sadly turns out to be of the class, privilege and profession in an under-

developing country. Pertaining to which it becomes undeniably necessary for people in power

and authoritative positions to be vocal against the rising fascism in the name of offending one or

more religion and upholding the true essence of a democratic country.

One of the key highlights which emerge from incidents like these is the retrospection in which

an individual is thrown only to reconfirm the thought that nothing is truly apolitical despite the

refusal of the acknowledgement by the decision-makers; leaders of the ruling state especially in

an ever-changing economy.

The boycotting of Tanishq Advertisement, in reality, is just a pawn move by the overruling,

influential politicians under the disguise of inciting communal hatred. Every few months a similar

incident occurs and almost every single time it rings true to the familiar notion of hate inducing

conspiracy practised regularly by our chosen politicians.

But, the thing, you as a reader, must direct yourself to is the fact that people are the biggest

asset of a country, especially one of which homes around 1.3 percent of the world’s total

population. From employees to consumers to voters to students, each sector holds enormous

potential which is mostly misdirected before one can find the time to step back and think for a

second “Where am I heading towards” in terms of consuming content, opinion building, or

disseminating those formed opinions.

As a consumer of either content or products, one ought to introspect and question rationality in

the context of cultural and religious notions, authenticity in the context of presented “facts” to

save oneself from falling into the traps of misguided propaganda.

Like business thrives on consumers, politics thrives on people drawing a very thin line between

the two, one needs to fulfil the role of both religiously.