A social media campaign, #NoBindiNoBusiness , started by social media activist Shefali Vaidya, has been making all the right noises in this Diwali season.
It all started with FabIndia launching their Diwali collection with the name Jashn-e-Riwaaz. And there was a social media uproar about the appropriation of Hindu festivals. Some users also called it the ‘de-Hinduisation’ of Hindu festivals. FabIndia issued a clarification saying it was not their Diwali collection. They launched another collection, calling it Jhilmil Si Diwali.
Shefali Vaidya noticed something else too. She said, “It was not just the name which was problematic. The whole background of the advertisement was problematic. Model was not wearing any bindi and diyas were missing from the picture.” She further added that Bindi is the most visible symbol of Hindu religion and so removing Bindi from the model’s forehead was not just any ordinary thing.
Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Shri Ram to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Vaidya said, “Starting from Dhanteras to Bhai Dooj, every day has a cultural and religious significance. There are rituals, customs and traditions associated with them. We can not allow it to be de-Hinduised.”
To push her views, she started the hashtag #NoBindiNoBusiness . Her tweet with hashtag #NoBindiNoBusiness was seen by more than 11 lakh people, and the hashtag reached more than 20 lakh people. It made an impact. The brands withdrew their ads and reissued them with visible Hindu symbols like Bindi, Diya and crackers.
Tanishq, a jewellery brand from the house of Tatas, reissued their advertisements, removing Arabic arches from the picture and inserting a model with bindi and brass lamp.
Islamist Javed Akhtar joined the debate, saying, “I failed to understand why some people have any problem with FabIndia’s Jashn- e- Riwaj. Which in English means nothing but “a celebration of tradition” how and why anybody can have a problem with that. It is crazy.” Vaidya responded by saying, why didn’t he name his son ‘Anand’ and daughter ‘Jeevan’.
In an interview with anchor Richa Anirudh on her show ‘Zindagi with Richa’, Vaidya said why should only Hindus carry the burden of tolerance.
Recently, CEAT Tyres issued an advertisement featuring Aamir Khan. The actor could be seen pontificating that Diwali crackers should be lighted inside societies and not on the roads because roads are not meant for bursting crackers.
The brands issue such woke advertisements only for Hindu festivals.
Vaidya said, “Retail store Target in the US and cosmetics brand Bobby Brown in the UK will never issue advertisements on Diwali which don’t have diyas, crackers and smile. Because it is the very essence of Diwali.”
Leftists and Islamists are running a campaign against crackers on Diwali, arguing it causes air pollution. Some moved to the High Courts and Supreme Court for an order banning the crackers. On one such PIL by filmmaker Roshni Ali, the Calcutta High Court ordered a complete ban on crackers during Diwali.