Which side do you support, Progressive India And Aggressive India?
It is clear that India is a country famous for its tradition and culture, but what if this very culture and tradition becomes a prison for creativity and way of life? What if these traditions and cultural norms become an obstacle for people simply wanting to live the way they want?
In the light of recent activities, it is very clear that the mindset of the Indian population has not broadened much. Even if same-sex marriage has been legalised a few years back, the majority of the population still treat it as a taboo. The aggressive and conservative population is not ready to accept any form of love apart from their predefined notions of a heteerosexual marital bond.
This narrow-mindedness of a large part of the Indian population is not just restricted to the LGBTQ+ community, but to many spheres of modern India. From women’s safety to secularism, all prospects of a progressive nation are being constantly questioned and met with extremely aggressive behaviour. Even the ‘law abiding’ courts of justice participate in the narrow minded tomfoolery.
The most recent reason to question India’s aggressive attitude is the massive outrage over Sabyasachi’s recent ad campaign about the Royal Bengal Mangalsutra. From the time that it was launched, the netizens have attacked it constantly. The ad features the prime product, the mangalsutra, and other products labelled as ‘Fine Intimate Jewelry’. Now the ad also features various heterosexual and homosexual couples, who are clad in what appears to be intimate apparel.
This is how fashion designer Sabyasachi is selling Mangalsutra..a Gems of Ads is much needed after this pic.twitter.com/RgHUjlTBE5
— Gems of Bollywood बॉलीवुड के रत्न (@GemsOfBollywood) October 27, 2021
The netizens and the ‘true flag bearers’ of our country claim that this is a deliberate attack on the hindu culture and traditions. Many object to the choice of clothes and many object to the portrayal of the couples in the ad. Now, after the analysis of this situation, away from all religious sentiments, two conclusions can be derived. First, that a major population of Indians still believe that married women need to cover up their bodies in order to be respected and maintain a marital relationship. And it is only the women who need to cover up because there is literally no comment about the men in the ad who have not a stitch of clothing on their torso. And the second conclusion is that they are still not tolerant towards same-sex marriage. Many who can still tolerate the choice of apparel are complaining that women in a same-sex marriage cannot wear a mangalsutra.
The intolerance in regards to ad campaigns is not new in India. In recent years, we have witnessed massive outrage by the aggressive internet population of India. Many campaigns from big brands had to be pulled due to the shocking outrage. Recently, Fab India had to pull its Diwali ad campaign over the use of Urdu words in the script. Same as always, the netizens created massive havoc and the campaign was pulled. Using the word ‘Riwaaz’ in a campaign which did not even claim to be for a hindi festival did not sit well with the public which somehow felt that it was an attack on the pious festival of Diwali.
But it is not only the hindu side of the population that causes such outrage. Almost all the religions in India are equally affected by this apparent ‘conservative syndrome’. This was very evident when both the religions, hindus and muslims, equally lashed out on Tanishq’s ad campaign, claiming that it has hurt the sentiments of their people and the inter-religion marriage portrayed in the ad was morally wrong.
While access to social media has worked to bridge the gap between communities, it is also being used to promote intolerance. The waging war between the Progressive India and Aggressive India has stemmed mostly from these platforms and seeped into people’s reality. Social media, while giving voice to the voiceless, has become the microphone of the aggressive intolerant population where their means to force their traditional and conservative outlook is amplified.
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None of the ads that were met with such an outrage meant to hurt cultural sentiments. Looking at this situation from the brand’s perspective and following simple commercial logic, it should be clear that they do not really aim to cause unrest. It is simply the sensitivity of politics of this time that causes such outrage.
It must be understood that almost all the brands understand their degree of freedom and are not naive enough to boldly make politically charged statements through their products. And evidently so, as they are quick to withdraw their campaign in the face of trouble. Although, it should be noted that their quick retreat only works to strengthen the intolerant public and will indefinitely cause more problems for the future because no matter how many laws are made, the war between Progressive India and Agressive India will not end.