That it was the unity or the oneness with the Divine, that it is also a realisation that we are woven together through our consciousness and our hearts – “Ekatvam by Tanishq!” And then all hell broke loose, don’t know about our hearts but our minds were surely screwed into the hashtags of the times #boycotttanishq #stoplovejihad with more than 17000 people tweeting their fingers sore calling for a ban of this advertisement for a jewellery brand promoting “Ekatvam” through a short cinematic delight showcasing a moment of cultural and religious diversity of an inter faith marriage where acceptance ruled the day and the moment showcased. Then there were the people with equally sore fingers on the other side of the #boycottTanishq losing their minds and sleep while trying to get the “theory of oneness with the divine hearts beating as one” called the “human race” which ran up and above all differences in class, creed, religion and the likes of which are the lifelines upon which this nation exists. The rest are of course for the constitution and discourse – a daily dose of pluralism, secularism, liberalism and the modern times that flourish within the highlands of cosmopolitan India which as usual fail to understand the pulse of the “Real India” where we live and survive.
And they said that the boycott and the trolls were destroying the country and the values that we all stood for since Independence when India became a republic with all the norms in place about its SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR and DEMOCRATIC status. The non trolls who trolled the trolls said that by promoting this ban we have failed the promised UNITY and FRATERNITY amongst us, the Indians, as we had promised or sworn or whatever. The battle raged on…the trolls and non trolls ceased to desist, Tanishq brought down another creative delight and probably the creators are still dying a slow death for the sake of their art and creative insights.
And this rigmarole of incidents lead me to regurgitate an unfortunate childhood memory which probably happened in the late seventies, the age of no internet or the social media and when probably the political bhakts aka trolls were within the safe confines of their “shakas” and NaMo was still selling “chai” as the erstwhile tea seller that he so quintessentially claims to be! A cousin of mine, a Hindu girl eloped with her lover, a Muslim boy. The place where we belonged being a small town placed upon a sub Himalayan ridge, the family of girl and the boy were well acquainted with each other, attending Diwali get togethers and sharing bowls of “Semiya Payasam” during the holy Idd gatherings. There was always unity and familial ties with hugs and showering of blessing from both sides of the family, after all we were Indians and we have always believed in brotherhood of the human race. Everything was exquisite and beautiful like the Tanishq advertisement – smiles, celebrations, niceties till it remained at the group level, the level of the masses. The moment individuality set in, hell had no fury as an interfaith union! The cousin was banished and never came back, even years thereafter when her mother died she was not allowed to pay her last respects. The worst was that she did come but was banished once more from the gates, even the dead mother did not deserve the wrong that she had done. And the wrong was just an interfaith marriage to a person whom she had always thought was a friend and a part of her family, with whom she had shared many moments of life which made her believe that what she was doing was not wrong and would be accepted by all. But she was wrong and so are all of us non trolls trying to troll back these 17000 trolls who have been vocal and the rest of the uncountable “trolls in thoughts and beliefs” that constitute majority of the Indians for whom acceptance of unity in diversity is always at an mass level. The moment it gets personal we all seem to put a backfoot to our fraternising souls and turn into our actual trolling selves!
As long as it’s Shahrukh and Gauri Khan’s perfect love story of an interfaith marriage that has worked wonders with images of those Diwali lamps or the Idd candles shining on David Letterman’s show, everything’s fine because they can afford to be fine. Others like my cousin cannot afford all these and so remains banished since she is the “Real India” – the India that resides not in Shahrukh Khan’s “Mannat” or the “Ekatvam Tanishq” advertisement but in the hearts of those millions who have been brought up with some beliefs that need more than a cinematic delight to get cleansed. Sometimes in the year 1993 a poet and writer however did get it right with his 1300 paged novel “The Suitable Boy” – Vikram Seth‘s nuanced fiction of the search for a groom for his protagonist “Lata” while she loves a Muslim boy whom of course she gives up as any Hindu girl from the real India would have done. This novel is set in 1952, but as you watch another cinematic delight created by Mira Nair for the BBC and now streaming on Netflix, you completely understand that time has stood still since 1952 and this understanding is further accentuated by this “Ekatvam Tanishq” incident – the Kabir Durranis still stand a very slim chance in the lives of the Lata Mehras!!
That the “Ekatvam Tanishq” advertisement was out of this world and beautiful is true but the fact that the people and our country is yet not so beautiful is also the truth that we all have to live with!!
And They Said……