New Delhi: The Indian arm of the British-Dutch conglomerate, Hndustan Unilever Limited (HUL), on Wednesday and Thursday had its feet firmly in the mouth with a Twitter video and message. The company purportedly wanted to encourage children to take care of their parents but, in the process, they defamed the venerated Kumbh Mela by saying it exemplified an occasion where the elderly go missing which, in turn, proves Indians are callous!

HUL, in a tweet which is now deleted, reduced the Kumbh Mela to a place where ‘old parents are abandoned’.

Following the outrage on the Hinduphobic tweet, after about 20 hours since the original tweet was posted, HUL deleted it, and reposted a new one with the same video. The video was shared with an alternate text in the new post and the reference that Kumbh Mela is a place where old parents get abandoned was removed. However, the preachy text still remains towards the end.

On the occasion of Shivratri which was on March 4, the highly successful Kumbh Mela came to an end with over 24 crore devotees taking a dip at the holy confluence. But the HUL ad depicted it as a place where an ageing father is taken to the Kumbh by a visibly jittery son who takes advantage of the crowd to let go of his father’s hand and abandon him. However, while walking away, he notices a father trying to make sure his young son does not get lost in the crowd. Seeing this, he goes back to fetch his father as his conscience is awaken. The father had ordered a tea for the two of them as he was sure that his son would return back to the same place. 

The ad strikes all emotional chords as it is indeed a reality that in many families, ageing parents are abandoned by their children, but to reduce the holy Kumbh to only a mere place where old parents get abandoned is unfair. Visibly angry with this depiction, a lot of Twitter users even pointed out that the ad is in bad taste, keeping the anti-Hindu part out of the criticism.

Many Twitter users even used sarcasm to get their point across and the fact that who would want to abandon their parents would do so anyway was also pointed out. There was no reason to include the Kumbh Mela to get the point across, according to several people. Many Twitter users also asked for legal action to be taken against the company.

Owning dozens of consumer brands, HUL is notorious in making preachy advertisements. Even though the original Hinduphobic tweet has been deleted by HUL, the text towards the end still remians which patronises and reduces the Kumbh to only a place where old parents are abandoned.

There are many commodities HUL sells in India. The hashtag #BoycottHindustanLever trended for so long on Twitter that it threatened HUL business interests worth crores in this country.