As Deepawali approaches, markets are gearing up to attract customers looking to make purchases. On Dhanteras, Hindus traditionally buy new items such as jewellery, utensils, furniture, vehicles, and more, so the marketplace gets ready accordingly. In recent years, there has been a subtle shift in the tactics employed by advertising agencies to promote products during Deepawali, with some renaming the festival without any apparent relevance. The festival, which symbolises the triumph of truth over evil, has traditionally been known as Deepawali or Diwali. However, advertisers have rebranded it as “Jashn-e-Roshni, Jashn-e-Riwaz, Jashn-e-Noor,” and more.
In these advertisements, models wearing sarees and necklaces for Diwali promotions appear sombre, and the vibrancy of colours, along with bindis, seems to be fading away. As a result, activists, influencers, and netizens have begun to criticise this specific targeting of Hindu festivals.
In this article, we highlight two recent incidents. One involves a government organisation, and the other showcases the efforts of Hindu activists and local residents in ensuring that a mall removes cutouts with the label “Jashn-e-Diwali” displayed outside. Netizens are praising this initiative.
@MarketcityKurla (Phoenxi mall)
सर्व हिंदू बांधवांना #जशन_ए_दिवाळीच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा देत आहे सर्व हिंदू बांधवांनी त्याचा स्वीकार करावा. @RajThackeray @narendramodi @mieknathshinde @Dev_Fadnavis @AjitPawarSpeaks @mnsadhikrut @mnsreport9 @mumbaimns @anilshidore @mnsmoresachin… pic.twitter.com/33JJsMBWcu
— Mahendra Bhanushali (@mahendrabhanum1) November 6, 2023
The first incident took place at Phoenix Mall in Kurla, Mumbai. After Hindu activists raised objections, the mall authorities removed the “Jashn-e-Diwali” tag from its exterior. Mahendra Bhanushali, the MNS Chandivali Vibhag Pramukh, expressed his dissatisfaction with the use of Urdu words for greeting people on the occasion of a Hindu festival.
In a video that gained traction on social media, Bhanushali can be heard opposing the use of Urdu words for Hindu festivals. He stated, “It is disheartening when Hindus celebrate festivals, and various tactics are employed to belittle it. This is a skewed mentality. We have no intention of disrespecting any religion, but we would like to be greeted in accordance with our traditions.”
He inquired whether the mall also displays tags for other festivals that begin with “Jai Shri Ram.”
A similar controversy arose last year with FabIndia’s ‘Jashn-e-Rivaj’ campaign, which faced widespread outcry on social media. People called for a boycott of the brand until the campaign was withdrawn.
Netizens have alleged that the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is planning an event called ‘Jashn-e-Roshni’ for the occasion of Diwali. However, FSSAI has denied any such event being organised.
The invitation, the image of which has gone viral on social media, announced that the department would be hosting an event called ‘Jashn-e-Roshni’ at 10 AM on December 9 at its New Delhi head office to commemorate the Hindu festival.
The cultural appropriation of the Hindu festival has angered many Hindu netizens. They expressed displeasure at the loose translation of Diwali to ‘Jashn-e-Roshni,’ which they felt was offensive to their religious sentiments.
In response to the outcry, on Tuesday, November 7, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) took to X to clarify that they have not organised any event under the name ‘Jashn-e-Roshni,’ as is being circulated on social media. They emphasised that the image being shared online was not issued or approved by FSSAI.
The FSSAI has unequivocally stated that they are not hosting an event named ‘Jashn-e-Roshni.’ They further tweeted that the image circulating on social media was not authorised or endorsed by them.
It should be noted that in 2022, FSSAI did indeed organise a cultural event called ‘Jashn-e-Roshni’ to celebrate the festive season, including various competitions for their employees.
This oversight did not escape the notice of internet users, with many individuals highlighting it following FSSAI’s clarification.
Diwali became Jashn E Roshni
If you thought only Bollywood urduised hindu festivals
No even Govt of India is doing it it officially. Such a shame 🤦🏾♀️ pic.twitter.com/LBqrsGnVo0
— Swathi Bellam (@BellamSwathi) November 7, 2023
By sharing a screenshot of the 2022 gazette notification issued by the department, people called on the government of India to promptly hold the responsible official accountable for this.
That’s a lie. You guys organised it last year too. Here is the pdf link and its screenshot of the event details from your own website. See point VII (Miscellaneous activities) in the last.https://t.co/bmCBUYwwoG pic.twitter.com/ZGALsiOpkv
— THE SKIN DOCTOR (@theskindoctor13) November 7, 2023
This very week, models from a photoshoot by clothing and jewellery brand Sabyasachi faced heavy criticism for their somber expressions.
Notably, taking to Instagram, the designer Sabyasachi shared photos of his collection ‘HERITAGE BRIDAL 2023’. The first picture shows four women dressed in ornate sarees and chunky jewellery, sporting poker faces and staring vacantly. Each of them is shown wearing sunglasses and sporting heavily kohled eyes.
Taking a potshot at the designer, one X user shared the picture on the microblogging site and wrote, “Great to see #sabyasachi come out with a fashion line for mourning.”
Who died? And why are these women dressed in such ugly bling for the funeral? BTW, these kind of over-embroidered chiffon kinda sarees are available at Manish Market, Mumbai for as little as 2,500 rupees! pic.twitter.com/LMSXQnJqjY
— Shefali Vaidya. 🇮🇳 (@ShefVaidya) November 6, 2023
Another described the models as ‘Egyptian mummies.”
“I say even mannequins would do a better job. These look like Egyptian mummies resurrected from the dead,” reads the comment.
— swetasdj (@swetasdj)
Another X user quipped about the poker-faced models and described them as “grumpy.”