Weeks after Tanishq was accused of promoting “love jihad” through an ad that showed a Muslim mother-in-law organising a baby shower for her Hindu daughter-in-law, the jewellery brand has once again stirred the hornet’s nest by releasing a Diwali advertisement discouraging people from bursting crackers.
In the now removed advertisement, one of the actors can be heard saying “…definitely no firecrackers and I don’t think anyone should light any firecrackers….”
The ad comes at a time a number of states and Union Territories, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Karnataka, have imposed a temporary ban on the sale and use of firecrackers during Diwali due to increasing number of Covid-19 cases and growing pollution.
However, there is no proof to link rise in coronavirus cases to use of firecrackers.
Mainstream media has always tried to portray bursting crackers as an act by individuals who do not care about the world, nor understand the importance of clean air and the dangers of pollution.
A concerted attempt is being made to make Hindus feel guilty about their way of life so that instead of taking pride in their cultural mores, they feel ashamed of continuing with them, tagging their celebrations as a “grave sin”.
It is important to note that stubble burning in Punjab and other states has already pushed the air quality in Delhi and NRC region to severely polluted category. Yet, no government has done anything to solve the problem. In such circumstances, firecrackers are an easy scapegoat.
Isn’t it unreasonable that the ban is so narrowly tailored to Diwali? Not just this year, every year during Diwali time, there is huge hue and cry on the harmful effects of crackers on the environment and how humans and animals are affected by them.
What is interesting to note is that there is no hue and cry when crackers are burst during Christmas or New Year celebrations. Also, is no pollution caused when crackers are burst during election victory? Looks like the crackers cause pollution only when it’s Diwali time and they are harmless at other times.
It is also pertinent to note that the call to ban firecrackers is not a Congress or BJP issue. Nearly all political parties call for a ban on crackers during Diwali.
Another important thing to note is that such hue and cry is not limited to Diwali.
From preaching to save milk during Mahashivratri, saving water bodies during Ganesh Chaturthi, to talking about saving water on Holi and tagging Karwa Chauth as “anti-women”, no stone is left unturned to defame Hindu festivals.
On the contrary, take for example the Muslim festival of Bakra Eid when thousands of cattle, goat and buffaloes are slaughtered as an offering to Allah. You won’t find any celebrities or activists holding placards asking people to spare the animals.
This year, Peta came up with an initiative to save cows through a campaign and placed billboards in Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Kanpur, Patna and Pune. The campaign, which was launched during the Raksha Bandhan festival, asked people to go leather-free.
No one uses a leather rakhi. Then what was the point of the campaign at the specific time?
British writer George Holyoake described secularism as the concept that states government or other entities should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs. Turns out the definition has changed with time making it “Lack of respect for Hinduism”.
Moral lectures are exclusively for Hindu festivals and for non-Hindu festivals, lofty ideals of brotherhood, peace, inclusiveness, etc., are attached while glaring vices are intentionally concealed.
While right outrage is healthy for the functioning of a giant democracy, selective outrage can poison the nation.