Triumph of Political Right: Threat to Creative Expression in India

About the Author: Dr Subhajit Basu is Chair of British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association (BILETA) and Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Leeds.

Voltaire once said that ‘those who can make you believe absurdities can also make you commit atrocities.’ Unfortunately, in this post-truth era in India, absurdities are becoming the dominant narrative. People no longer seem to care what is true and are happy to be influenced by prejudices and driven by emotions and not by facts. At the start of this year’s autumnal festive period, Tanishq, the famous Indian jewellery brand created an advertisement. This 45-second advertisement titled “Ekatvam (Oneness)” featured a Muslim family celebrating a traditional South Indian baby shower ceremony for their pregnant Hindu daughter-in-law. The advertisement, amid allegations of promoting “love jihad” and intense trolling along with calls for a boycott on social media, was later withdrawn. Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut claimed that it glorified “love jihad and sexism”. She tweeted that:

‘as Hindus we need to be absolutely conscious of what these creative terrorists are injecting in to our subconscious, we must scrutinise, debate and evaluate what is the outcome of any perception that is fed to us, this is the only way to save our civilisation #tanishq