Earlier this week, Tanishq, a jewelry company owned by the Tatas, released an advertisement that showed a baby shower thrown for a soon-to-be mother by her in-laws. In the spot, a Hindu woman is being led by a loving Muslim mother-in-law towards a waiting crowd of relatives – the distinctions in the two sides discretely demarcated by their clothing. The ad told a story of how despite belonging to different religions, the families united and adopted each other customs.

With its carefully curated imagery, the advertisement was clearly aimed at the market in South India – the gold jewellery beloved of Malayalis, the gajra of flowers worn by the mother-to-be beloved of Tamilian women. It was timed to capitalise on the upcoming Hindu festivals of Bhai Dhuj, Diwali and Dhanteras.

Needless to say the ad was carefully framed around the patriarchal idea of women and motherhood, matrimony, religion, and tradition – of celebrating these, not debunking or rejecting them. Marriage in India is never simply about the couple, about individual choice but also about everyone else. As the ad has been withdrawn, it is this “everyone else” that is of interest to me.

Shoaib Daniyal pointed out in Scroll.in what happened: “The internet exploded with violent trolling that is now...

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