Tanishq advertisement controversy has hurt reputation of the Indian society. It has also disturbed emotions of society at large , specially women.
A thought provoking article by Purnima Ojha Mishra , an expert in management, law and media .
I am not penning down this piece because I am a Brahmin lady a significant portion of whose life has been guided by Dhrik Panchang and who has since childhood kept fasts on all the major Hindu festivals and who, till today, does not eat till she has offered prasad to the motley of gods adorning her puja room.
I am compelled to write this piece because I am a mother, a mother in law and a grandmother of a four year granddaughter.
What came into my mind when I first saw the advertisement by Tanishq?
I was moved by the 45 seconds advertisement because it depicted love, caring and respect for the lady who was on her way to mother hood.
I saw in the female protagonist depicting my own daughter and my own granddaughter!!
Even though my daughter is married into a Brahmin family and contextually I may not be correct to visualise my daughter as the female protagonist, still I did!!
Simply because what was over powering was the depiction of respect, care and tenderness in that advertisement.
Why classification has come to our mind first??
Why we need to segment people and then emotions, which get manifested through actions, in this case the ceremony, which was intended to make the daughter in law happy when she was family way .
Classification, I agree, is as fundamental to our psyche as emotions such as love, fear and cohesiveness because the human brain tends to put in order as fast as possible, everything around it resulting in classification.
Unfortunately the classification, this time, is based on religion.
Of course religion and cast have since time immemorial played a decisive role in the way our personality is shaped and over a period of , at least, few centuries this role has turned out to be overwhelming .
While not denying the historical roots and the authenticity of the cause of the animosity, which sadly still overshadows the inherent creativity and the emotional touch in that advertisement, between these two religions I am appalled and saddened by the vicious trolling of this advertisement.
It’s true that Aurangzeb, for example, did inflict the most inhuman treatment to Hindus, it’s also true that from time to time various muslin dynasties have tried to annex Hindustan and thereby forcibly convert Hindus to Muslims but do the episodes of carnage, suppression and atrocities committed 500 years ago justify the stand taken by netizens in the days following the release of the advertisement??
I want to bring into light the following facts to amplify the underlying feeling behind the question I asked in the preceding paragraph.
Does the word “untouchability” ring a bell with anyone? Ever since the advent of medieval ages, in Hinduism, untouchability has been practiced without any compunction and remorse.
The Constitution of India, only after coming into effect in 1950, abolished untouchability.
Can anyone imagine the horror and plight of the millions of Hindus who were deemed to be untouchable because they were either of backward cast or scheduled cast.
A Brahmin could wear the shoe made by a cobbler but he will not allow the cobbler to enter the temple, is this an irony or a paradox??
The point is there have been instances, series of events and periods in the annals of Hindustan, now India, which are deplorable and which call for candid expressions of remorse accompanied by the resolve to create an India, which is modern, broadminded and liberal.
Why to examine love and tenderness on the arguments of two religions, which, unfortunately, have survived together even though on opposite sides as the most bitter and hostile communities??
Before I conclude I need to address few questions that predispose us to think that there is indeed an ego issue, which takes precedence over a plausible alliance between a muslin male and a Hindu female.
Why are film actors from different faiths immortalised in India??
Why there is no question as to why Hindu ladies are seen romancing with these non-hindu actors and vice-versa?
Why was Praveen Babi and Nargis ,may their soul rest in peace, a fantasy of every youth in India at one point of time?
Because they portrayed feminism, beauty, charisma and emotions.
They did not personify their religion on the silver screen and that’s what is the only message coming out of that advertisement- Tanishq is a part of celebrating moments and events and it transcends the boundaries created by the pedestrian thoughts , which are shaped by historical precedence and not examined today for their validity.
Please also read :
Germany, under the leadership of Hitler and his Nazi party, annihilated millions of Jews till the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Does this mean Germany still has to undergo the travails of the bitter memories??
After the reunification in 1990 it has catapulted itself into one of the most progressive nations of the world because it has moved on with a genuine empathy and endearment towards every community in the world.
We need to embrace the ideas of love , tenderness , forgiveness and respect towards others and if we have not been able to learn and internalise that in the last six months of Covid 19 pandemic , I am afraid, we will never be able to do that and keep on wallowing ourselves in bigotry and spitefulness.
(The writer Mrs Purnima Ojha Mishra, MBA, LLB worked as Sr Manager , Response, The Times of India)