Indian clothing brand Fabindia has been targeted by trolls and right-wing voices online after an advertisement for one of its clothing lines – called ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’ – stands accused of ‘defacing’ the popular festival by linking it to an Urdu term.
The now-deleted social media post had this 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.”
Fabindia has withdrawn the advertisement and has issued a clarification.
The company said ‘Jashn-E-Riwaaz’ is not its Diwali clothing line, and that the festival collection – ‘Jhilmil se Diwali’ – has yet to be launched.
Trolls’ attacks were spurred by a tweet from firebrand BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, who complained about the “Abrahamisation of Hindu festivals”.
“Deepavali is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz. This 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,” he declared.
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
Surya also attacked Fabindia because the models in the withdrawn ad were apparently not wearing “Hindu tradition of clothes”.
A number of Twitter users, however, defended Fabindia and slammed trolls for “ridiculous” remarks.
Boycott Fabindia is trending because they’ve poetically named their Diwali collection – Jashn-e-Riwaaz. This is beyond ridiculous. How does naming a collection in Urdu lessen your Diwali for you?
— shunali khullar shroff (@shunalishroff) October 18, 2021
Bhakts are boycotting FabIndia because it used an Urdu phrase for the Diwali clothing line.
By that logic, they should boycott Diwali too, because it has Ali in it.
— Narundar (@NarundarM) October 18, 2021
Controversy over Fabindia’s new clothing line comes almost exactly a year after Tanishq, a popular jewellery brand owned by the Tatas, was bombarded with abuse for an advertisement – the Ekavatam campaign – featuring an interfaith baby shower that trolls claimed promoted ‘love jihad’.
The brand was eventually forced to withdraw the ad and issue an apology, but only after it said it was doing so “keeping in mind… the well-being of our employees, partners and store staff”.