Sunny Leone, Manforce slammed for suggesting condom use during Navratri
Ahead of Navratri, Manforce released a new ad featuring Sunny Leone, urging Gujaratis to practice safe sex during the festivities. The advert, however, received such fierce backlash that the condom brand was forced to pull it down. But why are we so offended? Because a leading male contraceptive company promoted protected sex through an ad? Or because Sunny Leone was the face of it?
The ad, that reads 'Aa Navratri a ramo, parantu premthi' — Gujarati for 'This Navratri, play but with love,' has apparently hurt the sentiments of Hindu groups. Hindu Yuva Vahini staged a protest in Surat on Monday and demanded the ad be pulled down. Manforce tweeted an apology on Wednesday night, saying it didn't mean to hurt anyone and had taken down the ads.
Sunny Leone and her husband Daniel Weber adopted a 21-month-old girl from Latur, Maharashtra, in July this year. The couple had applied for the baby, now Nisha Kaur Weber, two years ago and says the Indian government chose the orphanage from where Nisha was picked.
Navratri is a great time for revelers in Gujarat to shed inhibitions and participate in the festivities. The sale of condoms reportedly goes up by over 30% during the festive period. A spike in abortion rates post the celebrations isn't uncommon either. Some people therefore support the ad, saying it is opportune and not such a bad idea.
It's the third time this month that an ad has hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus. First, the Indian community in Australia got offended by an advertisement that featured Ganesha promoting lamb meat consumption with other gods. Then hair stylist Jawed Habib got into trouble for a print ad showing Hindu divinities lounging at one of his salons, getting their hair and makeup done.
Though there is no direct anti-blasphemy law in the Indian Constitution, Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code makes it a criminal offence to deliberately hurt the religious sentiments of any class of people. India is a secular democracy, but is subject to market risk.