Tanishq is a business institution. It turns out to be a business, not a revolution. The Tanishq Ad that he withdrew was not an attempt to revolutionize it – it was just a virtue – the generosity of saving customs and relationships among India’s cultural plurality. When people did not approve of this bonafide, when their tearful eyes were bent on seeing who is a Hindu and who was a Muslim, when Tanishq felt that this would hurt his interests, he withdrew the advertisement . Now he will show another advertisement which will not have a tinge of tradition, just the shine of the jewels. We cannot blame him for this.
The advertising association, backed by Tanishq, demanded action on “intimidating behavior” I do not know how much Tanishq must have suffered in the midst of this controversy, but as a society we have suffered more. We ask ourselves, what kind of society are we creating in which a person or a group is afraid to use a positive message? He went around calculating how many Hindus would be offended by this or how many Muslims?
There are many scary things in this whole episode. The first scary thing is the use and withdrawal of a slut like Love Jihad. Whatever communal mind coined this word, it must have been opposed to love as well as inter-religious marriages. But more than that, he must have been anti-minority. Then he thought that even using love, a jihad can be done. However, he would not have had a single convincing argument in favor of this idea. Unfortunately in India, it is still not easy to garner social acceptance for inter-caste or inter-religious marriages. Relations among upper castes have become more common in upper-middle class sections, but inter-religious marriages are still considered a crime. It is a different matter that in spite of this, in all religions, such boys and girls come out, who are ready to commit this crime- whether to leave the house for this or persuade the house. Such people can be the bearers of any modern revolution, not of any orthodox kind. But they are suddenly being linked to love jihad.
Of course, within the family structure of India, girls are more compelled to live in a foreign environment, but here too, to talk about the different treatment of Hindu or Muslim houses, it is forgotten that the most prevalent mother-in-law quarrels in Indian homes. In which the daughters-in-law are often the oppressed side because they weaken in a new house. But if we look at the percentage of such inter-religious marriages, then perhaps it will not be even a thousandth of the weddings that take place here. It is impossible to imagine a revolution or a jihad on this basis. Despite this, many people are ready to trust this fantasy of love jihad, then as a society it is another horror.
But actually these two things – the practice of not allowing inter-religious marriages and the tendency to find love jihad within them – are two sides of the same coin. Both are the signs of a closed society where bigotry controls and directs the conscience, but does not allow the conscience to remain conscience. If you look carefully, the different grooves of India’s social harmony are filled with many ugliness within them – related to caste and religion, related to religious and social traditions, associated with gender discrimination. Looking at our many colorful and inclusive looking traditions, we find that we are actually a rooted society who is carrying a lot of garbage in the name of tradition – without seeing how heavy it is falling on our society.
A problem appears here in Tanishq’s advertisement which no one is willing to see. Monika Kumar, a Hindi poetess, has raised an interesting question, what is the need to glorify the ritual of Godbharai. She writes in a post on social media – ‘Why this’ baby shower’ is so glorified? How much would you glorify a woman’s fertility with reference to the baby shower? And what is so much feminism in this All Women event that there is no presence of the father. Doesn’t having a baby fill her arms? And why people are so obsessive about inter-religious wedding celebrations and rituals in the daughter-in-law’s house, does it become at home only by celebrating the festival? Well, by denying anti-women festivals and events of both religions, the real inter-religious marriage should become an example.
The danger is that on such a thing, Monika Kumar should not start attacking those people who are mourning the attack on Tanishq’s advertisement. Actually as a society we are losing the ability to think and understand with patience. A kind of mobocracy is occupying our mindset. The communal and casteist structures within us are getting a new dose. Opposition to Tanishq’s advertisement is just the latest example of this trend. But what is this dose? It is hatred that is spread in the name of other countries and is populated here – telling what is happening in Pakistan or what is happening in Afghanistan and Turkey, but forgetting that in this process we too are in Pakistan, Iran and Turkey are going like this. On social media, we behave almost insanely.
A Turkish journalist S Temelkuren has written a book – How to Lose a Country – Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship. In it, he has also written on social media and trolling. Remember, what is written is written from the Turkish experience. She says, ‘After all, the work of a troll is very cheap. Their aim is not to discuss an issue or refute an argument, but to terrorize the stage of dialogue with unrestrained aggression and hostility so that opposing views are defended. Trolls are digital bulls who are trained in such a way as to drive the decency, rationality and factuality of proper communication from the world of social media and the salutary cruelty of other social media users – the ‘common people’. Become a role model who voluntarily lists himself in the Janasena (Militia) of immorality.
Are we different from such digital bulls? The purpose of quoting this statement is just to remind us that Tanishq’s advertisement is not only in the questions, it is also our democracy that will survive only when we become intelligent citizens and not the bulls. Otherwise, the capitalism that kidnaps this democracy is already active and its political agents are making our citizenship a little harder every day.