Trying To Promote Communal Harmony, Surf Excel Lands In Controversy
March 11th, 2018 / 6:43 PM
The festival of colours is around the corner and popular detergent brand Surf Excel was caught in a Twitter-flap after they posted a heartwarming video on Hindu-Muslim unity for Holi. With the theme “Rang Laaye Sang”, the advertisement was meant to spread the beautiful message of communal harmony.
The video starts with children playing with colours. A little girl on a cycle, clad in all white, seemingly challenges other kids to throw colours at her. From balconies and terraces, balloons filled with coloured water splashes all over her white kurta. Once the kids run out of colours, the little girl asks a young Muslim boy to go offer his namaz in the mosque. While dropping him at the mosque she tells him, “Be prepared for colours once you are out of the mosque.” He smiles and leaves.
The seemingly harmless video has hurt right-wing nationalists. With #BoycottSurfExcel, they are asking people to stop using Hindustan Unilever products, alleging that the video promotes “Love Jihad”. Twitteratti claim that the brand is insulting the Hindu festival by calling it “daag (stain)”.
#BoycottSurfExcel@HUL_News made a controversial statement in his Kumbh Mela ad stating "People visit Kumbh mela to get rid of their family and friends",
Now again stating "Being Hindi is a Daag(Mark) and Namaaz it's more important than Holy".#BoycottHindustanUnilever pic.twitter.com/Ue1mFa4lud
— Gandhi And Sons Pvt Ltd (@and_pvt) March 9, 2019
Throwing @HUL_News products into dustbin . Vow never to purchase them again . Sensitising my family and friends too . #BoycottSurfExcel #BoycottHULproducts #BoycottHindustanUnilever pic.twitter.com/Ld1YE9ZPCF
— Shrikanth (@ShrikZinga) March 9, 2019
#BoycottSurfExcel Either you roll back this ad immediately @HUL_News or you'll certainly be out of my house. Remember, it is not the India of 80s or 90s when you had monopoly in the market. We can easily and swiftly kick you out.
— चौकीदार Pankaj Kumar 🇮🇳 (@KPankaj2018) March 11, 2019
While some people took undue offence at an innocent video, others focussed on the wonderful message of unity in diversity.
— Konkona Sensharma (@konkonas) March 10, 2019
Search #BoycottSurfExcel hashtag and witness #TheCultOfStupidity in action. I hope @HUL_News will have the conviction to stand by their advertisement aimed at promoting communal harmony & not be cowed down by hate mongers.
— Faizan Deewan (@Faizandeewan) March 11, 2019
What is it about some people who get so enraged at the very idea of people from different communities interacting without hate? What is it about coexisting peacefully and happily that seems to threaten their sense of self? When did hate get so mainstreamed? #SurfExcel
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) March 10, 2019
I do not know about other religions but as a hindu I believe in unity of all. Without seeing other persons color, religion or caste our moral duty is to stand together. This advertisement can be monopoly or not but this is what our religion taught us.#SurfExcel. pic.twitter.com/RV6ME3NPwA
— MEET DOSHI (@meet1298) March 11, 2019
The Logical Indian take
The advertisement under one minute puts out an important message of communal harmony. It also showcases the innocence of children who are untouched by evils of caste, creed, colour or religion.
The advertisement in no way undermines the festival of colours. Neither does the video promote ‘love jihad’. In fact, the term “Love Jihad” that was first coined in 2007 in Kerala, gained a spot in public discourse two years later. However, there is evidence to prove “Love Jihad” exists.
The girl child in the video is shown helping her friend, while also telling him that once he is done with namaz (prayer), he is also going to meet the same colourful fate.
A message that grown-ups should perhaps imbibe, this Holi!
Written by : Poorbita Bagchi
Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi