Celebrations are in the autumn air, as many parts of India prepare for the festive season ahead. This for those who can afford it means the tradition of shopping for new clothes and accessories, Jashn-e-riwaz, or celebration of tradition as it were.
For the right-wing bhakts however, the season is Jashn e stupidity, as this is when they look out for advertisements announcing Diwali designs and sales. This time too, they have not disappointed, as their massive trolling, led head on by Bharatiya Janata Party politician such as Tejaswi Surya, has ensured that garment giant FabIndia removed its seasonal advertisement. The backlash came after the BJP MP said Diwali was “Not Jashn-e-Riwaaz”, perhaps upset that an Urdu term had been used. Many in the right wing have decided on their own that Urdu a language is actually only Muslim.
This time they claimed that the words used for the traditional celebrations had somehow undone or even insulted Diwali. Surya called this a, “deliberate attempt of Abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out… and brands like FabIndia must face economic costs for such deliberate misadventures.” And that was enough to set the trolls off.
Deepavali is not Jash-e-Riwaaz.
This deliberate attempt of abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out.
— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) October 18, 2021
FabIndia in its now-deleted social media post had shared the message, “As we welcome the festival of love and light, Jashn-e-Riwaaz by FabIndia is a collection that beautifully pays homage to Indian culture.” It spoke of “The rustle of silk… gleam of zari. The sparkle of jewels… fragrance of flowers in hair. The sweetness of mithai & happiness of homecoming. Let the festivities begin with ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz”.
Now, after the backlash, it has reportedly withdrawn the ad and clarified that, ‘Jashn-E-Riwaaz’ was not its Diwali clothing collection; the ‘Jhil Mil se Diwali’ collection has yet to be launched.
According to a report in NDTV FabIndia “comes out with capsules of collection every month every 15 days, and for various Indian festivals, including Diwali, Onam and Durga Puja. ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz means “celebrations of rituals/festive celebrations,” and that this advertisement had “no specific connection to Diwali.”
Surya also attacked FabIndia because the models were not dressing up in “Hindu tradition(al) clothes” even though no one knows what that is. Surya himself wears many contemporary designs and even western clothes. However many of his followers also seem to agree, including men who soon lamented that the female models were not wearing a ‘bindi’.
Trolls came out of the woodwork last year too
This seasonal trolling comes exactly a year after the right-wing influencers forced Jewellery brand Tanishq to drop its advertisement showing a Muslim family performing the god-bharai ceremony of their Hindu daughter-in-law. The brand initially faced backlash from the right-wing Hindutva extremists who claimed the advertisement supported ‘love jihad.’ Then Tanishq faced the second wave of criticism from liberals and others who were disappointed to see the jewellery brand take down the advertisement.
Recently, communal trolls had spread dangerous misinformation and lies, especially when it comes to food. The latest has been a hate campaign spreading a dangerous lie over Whatsapp and social media, that the dosa batter made and sold by the popular iD startup contains ‘cattle bones and calf rennet’.
However the recent hate drive has accused the popular company of using animal products and urged ‘every single Hindu’ to boycott it. Why? Because the founders of this Bangalore-based company are Muslims. The company then took to its social media page to reassure customers that this was not the case.