Following backlash from BJP MP Tejasvi Surya as well as right-wing groups, clothing brand FabIndia has removed a promotional capsule about its new festive line that was titled ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz,’ which translates to 'celebration of tradition'. The brand was accused of "defacing" the Hindu festival of Diwali. Fabindia has now clarified that the festive line that was earlier titled ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’ was misrepresented as a Diwali collection and that its Diwali collection will be soon launched under the 'Jhilmil si Diwali' promo.
Tweets by Tejasvi Surya and many other social media users had called for a boycott of the brand after FabIndia advertised the Jashn-e-Riwaaz collection on October 9. "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 had tweeted. This tweet was deleted after the backlash, as #BoycottFabindia became a top trend on Twitter. Jashn-e-Riwaaz is a phrase in Urdu, a language that was born in India.
In a statement, a Fabindia spokesperson said, "We at FabIndia have always stood for the celebration of India with its myriad traditions in all hues. Our current capsule of products under the name Jashn-e-Riwaaz is a celebration of Indian traditions. The phrase means that, literally. The capsule is not our Diwali Collection of products. Our Diwali collection is called 'Jhilmil si Diwali' and is yet to be launched."
BJP Yuva Morcha President Tejasvi Surya was among those who slammed the ad in a post on Twitter. "Deepavali is not Jash-e-Riwaaz. This deliberate attempt of abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out. And brands like @fabindiaNews must face economic cost for such deliberate misadventures," he said on Monday afternoon.
Established in 1960, FabIndia sources its products from villages helping to provide and sustain rural employment in India. According to reports, the products are currently produced by over 40,000 artisans and craftspeople across India. However, the ethnic retail behemoth is not the first brand to face right-wing attacks and buckle under pressure.
Recently, Tata Group's jewellery brand Tanishq was forced to withdraw an advertisement that showed an interfaith couple at a baby shower organised for the Hindu bride by her Muslim in-laws. It withdrew the advertisement after trolling soon turned into physical threats to company employees and stores.
Clothing brand Manyavar too was at the receiving end when its advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt in wedding attire appeared to question an old tradition.
In 2019, a Holi ad by Surf Excel had received similar flak by certain groups, as it showed children of two different religions celebrating the festival of colours.
(With PTI inputs)