An overview of some recent announcements that hurt “Indian” feelings


Lately, there has been an increase in the number of “angry” and “hurt” people in India who have shown unease with advertisements which they have found “offensive”. He raised the question of “the Indians ko gussa kyun aata hai?

Ads, in particular, have been targeted. It is interesting to note that these advertisements tried to show the country in a “modern”, more “tolerant” light, which was resisted by part of the population who even shouted “boycott”.

Here, we take a look at some of the ads that have been in the news in the recent past, but for all the wrong reasons.

Let’s start with the Sabyasachi mangalsutra controversy. The designer ace had received severe reactions when his ad campaign for the luxury mangalsutra was compared to an ad for “lingerie” and “condom”, given the intimate nature of the images. Sabyasachi had launched the Royal Bengal Mangalsutra 1.2 as part of his latest jewelry collection, the countryside for which it was later withdrawn.

Clothing and interior design brand FabIndia also received immense hatred when he tweeted his collection on October 9, with the post that read, “As we host the Festival of Love and Light, Jashn-e-Riwaaz, by FabIndia is a collection which magnificently pays tribute to Indian culture… ”. It featured men and women adorning Indian ethnic festive clothing in a bright shade of red, given that it is the holiday season.

But very quickly, the brand is accused of having “undermined the Hindu festival of Diwali”. The tweet was later deleted and the ad was also taken down.

Even after the decriminalization of homosexuality, many Indians continue to squirm at the thought of it. During Karwa Chauth 2021, consumer goods company Dabur, owner of fair trade bleach brand Fem, posted an ad showing two women in a same-sex partnership celebrate the holiday together. Traditionally, the day marks the celebration of “heterosexual” marriages, in which the “wife” fasts for her “husband” and prays for his long life – a concept many have called “patriarchal”.

In the ad, the women applied bleach to their faces, so that it looked like ‘chand ka tukda‘- chand, or moon, playing an important role in the celebration. While some people have denounced the coloristic nature of advertising, others have questioned the need to celebrate patriarchy. Some others, however, have blatantly criticized the ad for allegedly using a “Hindu” ritual to advocate for change, or anything, even remotely, progressive.

Clothing brand Manyavar was also targeted this year, when an advertisement featuring actor Alia Bhatt questioned the concept of ‘kanyadaan‘as something we should be doing in the modern age, asking why women are treated as gifts. A pro-Hindu outfit had staged a protest outside one of the brand’s showrooms in Navi Mumbai against the ad, claiming it hurt the religious feelings of the community. During the protest, members held up placards and shouted slogans against Manyavar’s Vedant Fashions Ltd, calling for a boycott of the brand.

Some time last year, jewelry brand Tanishq had removed one of its ads after receiving a reaction from social media for showing an interfaith marriage. The announcement was essentially that of a young pregnant “Hindu” woman finding love, respect and acceptance in the “Muslim” family to which she is married. But, people started calling for a boycott of the brand, claiming it was promoting the “jihad of love” by performing an interfaith marriage.

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