Where is the ‘Ekatvam’ now?

In the public eye, anything that goes against a particular religion is subject to controversy. Sadly, such has been the case for famous jewellery brand Tanishq’s newest ad campaign ‘Ekatvam’ which means oneness. The advertisement shows a Hindu daughter-in-law being taken for her baby shower ceremony by her Muslim mother-in-law who says that keeping daughters happy is more important than customs. This gave many social media users a reason to say that the ad promotes ‘love jihad.’  Soon after the ad was released, #BoycottTanishq was quick to start trending. Tanishq said it was ‘deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions’ and has withdrawn the ad from all platforms.

In an open letter to the public, the company said that the idea of the ad was to celebrate the ‘beauty of oneness’ with people coming from all walks of life and families during these difficult times. Somehow, many Hindutva bigots have seen this as something against Hinduism and have been very vocal about how it has deeply hurt their sentiments thus demanding for an apology. The other half of social media stood up for the message the ad was trying to portray and slammed the bigotry.

For a country that prides itself on religion, why is there room for constant hate and criticism against inter-faith unions? Actor Kangana Ranaut shared her thoughts on the ad and claimed that it glorified “love jihad and sexism.” Her tweet read, “This advert is wrong on so many levels, Hindu bahu is living with the family for a significant amount of time but acceptance happens only when she is carrying their heir. So, what is she, just a set of ovaries? This advert does not only promote love jihad but also sexism.”  Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, actor Richa Chadha and many others, on the other hand, supported and appreciated the ad for its message on ‘Hindu-Muslim unity.’

Inter-faith marriages have always been frowned upon in India especially if one wants to marry into the Muslim community. The rules in Islam and Christianity are strict when it comes to marriage and people outside the faith are not easily accepted. Therefore, the ad that showed a Muslim family with a Hindu bahu was not only beautiful but also attempted to break the stereotypical system we still live in. It is a shame that we are still unable to accept the slightest change in traditions that have been set in stone. Times are changing and these are some of the few stereotypes that need to be broken.