Fabindia withdraws Diwali ad after row over Urdu phrase
Indian retailer Fabindia has withdrawn an advertisement about its new festive line called Jashn-e-Riwaaz after facing a backlash from the Bharatiya Janata Party and right-wing groups that said the Urdu phrase hurt Hindu sentiments.
The seller of Indian ethnic clothing deleted a tweet promoting the new range and removed the collection from its website as well after being trolled on social media by right-wing groups and people, including BJP parliamentarian Tejasvi Surya, also the president of the party’s youth wing, who said the company should pay for “deliberate misadventures.”
“As we welcome the festival of love and light, Jashn-e-Riwaaz by Fabindia is a collection that beautifully pays homage to Indian culture,” Fabindia had tweeted on October 9.
Jashn-e-Riwaaz means festival of tradition. The Urdu phrase was, however, misunderstood to refer to Deepavali or Diwali, the Indian festival of lights.
“Deepavali is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz,” Surya tweeted on Monday. “This deliberate attempt of abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out. And brands like @FabindiaNews must face economic costs for such deliberate misadventures.”
Fabindia on Tuesday said that the contested festive line was not its Diwali collection, PTI news agency reported.
The company said its Diwali line will be called Jhilmi si Diwali, PTI reported. The phrase translates to glittering festival of lights.
“We at Fabindia have always stood for the celebration of India with its myriad traditions in all hues,” the company spokesperson told PTI. “Our Diwali collection called ‘Jhilmil is Diwali’ is yet to be launched.”
Taking a dig at the BJP, former leader of the party Yashwant Sinha, who is now with Trinamool Congress party, tweeted, “I am happy BJP has protected Hinduism by protesting against Fab India’s Rashn-e-Riwaaz dresses and forcing it to withdraw the ad. If it had not been for the BJP Hinduism would not have survived thru’ the ages.”
This is not the first time a brand has been attacked by right-wing groups for their advertisements. Tanishq, Tata group’s jewellery brand, withdrew an advertisement on interfaith marriage last year after it was trolled heavily on social media.