With Diwali around the corner, Indian clothing brand Fabindia has found itself caught in a controversy for its latest advertisement “Jashn-e-Riwaaz. Senior BJP leaders have lashed out at Fabindia and accused it of defacing Diwali, the festival of lights, with an Urdu term.
Fabindia had tweeted out the clothing collection called Jashn-e-Riwaaz on October 9. “As we welcome the festival of love and light, Jashn-e-Riwaaz, by Fabindia is a collection that beautifully pays homeage to Indian culture.” However, the brand removed the tweet on Monday and pulled down the ad as it had resulted in an uproar on social media. The right-wing accused the company of “damaging the Hindu festival of Diwali”.
As such, the hashtag #boycottFabindia gained momentum on Twitter. Tejasvi Surya, BJP Yuva Morcha President, tweeted that Deepavali is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz. “This deliberate attempt of abrahamization 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.”
Uttarakhand BJP MLA Rajkumar also took to twitter to say that Deepavali is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz. “Period!!! Seems like Fab India has done this deliberately to hurt Hindu sentiment. #BoycottFabIndia,” he said.
Following the backlash, Fabindia says Jashn-e-Riwaaz was not its Diwali clothing collection – the Jhil Mil se Diwali collection has yet to be launched. According to NDTV, Fabindia comes out with capsules of collection every month every 15 days, and for various Indian festivals, including Diwali, Onam and Durga Puja. However, some netizens have described the boycott as “beyond ridiculous”.
This is not the first time that a brand has found itself at the receiving end of the right-wing. Tanishq, Eros Now, Flipkart, WhiteHat Jr and even Kent RO have found themselves in this web. Industry experts believe monitoring and management of campaigns on digital platforms is a difficult task, owing to the variety of platforms and the ability of millions of users to engage with the content of the brand.