Clothing brand FabIndia has removed a tweet promoting their new collection for Diwali after hundreds of Hindus questioned the company’s motive on social media. The brand was accused of “defacing” the Hindu festival of Diwali and terming it Jashn-e-Riwaaz. Many slammed the brand for unnecessarily uplifting secularism and Muslim ideologies in a Hindu festival.
The tweet by FabIndia was a promotional post depicting models wearing their new Diwali 2021 collection. “As we welcome the festival of love and light, Jashn-e-Riwaaz by Fabindia is a collection that beautifully pays homage to Indian culture,” reads the caption of the post that has now been deleted.
Notably, FabIndia had not used the word “Diwali” or “Deepavali” to refer to the occasion even last year, raising the suspicion that its act is deliberate and not an honest mistake.
The tweet was promptly removed after #BoycottFabIndia started trending on Twitter furiously. BJP Yuva Morcha President Tejasvi Surya also slammed the ad in a post on Twitter.
Many users of social media described the tweet/ad as “culturally inappropriate”. While several users pointed out that a simple ‘Diwali’ or ‘Deepavali’ in the description would have been enough for promotion, others expressed that there was no need to deconstruct the Hindu festival and infuse secularism in it. Some even put forth the fact that Hindu festivals bear the same significance as Muslim and Christian ones and amalgamating them was nothing short of disrespecting the particular religion.
Through a thread of tweets, Sirf News Editor-in-Chief Surajit Dasgupta posited that referring to Diwali as some kind of a riwāz was an old linguistic ploy of Christians and Muslims to belittle Hindus, their belief systems and practices.
Other than that, tweets by several eminent personalities and politicians prompted the clothing brand to take down the tweet quickly.
Author, speaker and textile enthusiast, Shefali Vaidya slammed Fabindia for ‘de-Hinduising’ festivals. “Wow @FabindiaNews great job at de-Hinduising Deepawali! Call it a ‘festival of love and light’, title the collection ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’, take Bindis off foreheads of models but expect Hindus to buy your overpriced, mass produced products in the name of ‘homage to Indian culture’!” she tweeted.
FabIndia was started in 1960 by a Christian called John Bissell who used to work at the Delhi office of Ford Foundation, a philanthropic front of American spy agency CIA that funds rabble-rousing activists across the world, and its first retail store was opened at Greater Kailash in the national capital. John’s son William Nanda Bissell runs the firm now.
Interestingly, the advertisement campaign released by the brand is a complete mismatch with the title chosen for the Diwali collection. Fabindia’s ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’ video campaign ironically features the rich culture and tradition of Rajasthan.
The campaign starts with a Rajasthani lad taking a group of friends belonging to different ethnicities to his home to celebrate the festival of Diwali. While driving amidst the different traditional aspects of Rajasthan, the boy wonders how his friends might be perceiving the timeliness tradition and history of the state.
The ad then focuses on Rajasthani traditions, rituals, food and finally the couture to highlight the richness, heritage and legacy of Diwali, a festival celebrated by lighting diyas, bursting crackers and distributing sweets amongst other traditions to mark the win of good over evil.