India: BJP Gov't Orders Action Against Dabur for Featuring Same-Sex Couple on Hindu Fest Ad
12:46 GMT 25.10.2021 (Updated: 10:39 GMT 19.07.2022)
One of India's largest consumer goods companies Dabur has rolled out an advertisement featuring a same-sex couple. With the "Glow with Pride" theme, the ad features two young women applying bleach ahead of their first "Karwa Chauth" (a Hindu festival meant for married couples).
The state home minister in India's Madhya Pradesh has ordered a probe against Dabur India for promoting LGBTQ in the firm's latest advertisement.
The commercial featuring a same-sex couple received a mixed reaction on social media. Many praised the progressive approach, while some criticised it as anti-Hindu and accused the brand of hurting cultural sentiments. Since the rituals of the festival are performed by women only for their husbands, the advertisement showing same-sex partners appears to have offended some Hindu sentiments.
Minister Narottam Mishra has challenged filmmakers and firms to come out with films, web series, and advertisements targeting religions other than Hinduism.
"It's a serious matter. The director general of police has been asked to examine the ad and ask the concerned company to remove the ad or face legal action", the Madhya Pradesh home minister stated on Monday.
While strongly condemning such an act, Mishra said he does not understand why advertisements or movies are made only about Hinduism. "If you have the courage, do it with other religions also", he added.
11 January 2018, 14:56 GMT
Dabur's ad was released days ahead of "Karwa Chauth" (24 October).
The Indian festival of Karwa Chauth is a day-long fast, observed by women for the longevity and good health of their husbands. It sees the married women not consuming food or even water the entire day until they watch the moon by late evening or at night as part of the Hindu ritual.
The Supreme Court of India decriminalised gay sex in September 2018. However, it is still not accepted in many sections of society.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Madhya Pradesh government's home minister has also decided to frame permanent guidelines that ensure that permission is granted for shooting films or web series only after filmmakers share the entire content or script with the administration.
The steps have been taken against the backdrop of ongoing controversies over a web series called "Ashram-3", as Hindu groups claimed that the series incorrectly portrays them.
"I support it [ta demand to change the show's name]. Do you dare to keep some other name? Don't do things that will cause problems. What happened [the violence on the "Ashram" sets] was wrong; four arrests were made. But Jha sahib [director of "Ashram-3"], you should also think of the wrong you're doing", Mishra said.
Bajrang Dal, a Hindu group, unleashed a wave of vandalism on the sets of the web series "Ashram-3" in Bhopal last Saturday, calling for a change of the name and content of the series.