Indian clothing brand Fabindia has withdrawn an advertisement for a clothing collection – called ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’ – after senior BJP leaders slammed the brand and accused it of ‘defacing’ Diwali by linking the festival to an Urdu term but the company says it means ‘celebrations of rituals/festive celebrations’.
In the now-deleted social media post, it read: ‘As we welcome the festival of love and light, Jashn-e-Riwaaz by Fabindia is a collection that beautifully pays homage to Indian culture.’ The ad read: ‘The rustle of silk… gleam of zari. The sparkle of jewels… fragrance of flowers in hair. The sweetness of mithai & happiness of homecoming. Let the festivities begin with ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’.
Fabindia has withdrawn the advertisement due to abuse. The company has since clarified ‘Jashn-E-Riwaaz’ is not its Diwali clothing collection; the ‘Jhil Mil se Diwali’ collection has yet to be released.
According to reports in the media, Fabindia releases collecting capsules every month, every 15 days, and for several Indian festivals, like Diwali, Onam, and Durga Puja. Jashn-e-Riwaaz means ‘ritual celebrations/festive celebrations’ and has nothing to do with Diwali.
Tejasvi Surya, a BJP MP and the youth wing’s head, posted a tweet that sparked the attacks. Surya declared, ‘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.’ Not only that, he attacked Fabindia’s models for not wearing ‘Hindu tradition(al) clothes’.
‘If Fabindia is so Secular, let it serve them. We will find a different outlet!’ BJP’s National General Secretary for Goa, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu, CT Ravi, tweeted.
There have also been calls to boycott Fabindia, which triggered a Twitter trend by that name – one that was endorsed by BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who is being sought for instigating the Delhi riots.
The controversy over Fabindia’s new clothing line comes nearly exactly a year after Tanishq, a popular jewellery company owned by the Tatas, was slammed for an advertising – the Ekavatam campaign – portraying an interfaith baby shower that trolls said advocated ‘love jihad.’ The brand was forced to withdraw the ad and apologize, but only after it said it was doing so ‘keeping in mind… the well-being of our employees, partners and store staff’.