Kanhaiya Kumar is no longer just a JNU student who was arrested on charges of sedition. Since he made his fiery speech on March 3, political parties made him the poster boy. They have been lining up to stake claim to his ideology, his oratory skills, and even his signature catchword--Azaadi.
All this while, poll bound states were calling dibs on him for their election campaigns, and now it seems advertisers are also not far behind.
In a distasteful advertisement that has gone viral, travel website Yatra.com is trying to sell its app-based offerings by using a Kanhaiya Kumar knock-off and his catch 'Azaadi' chant.
The advertisement shows a man who is denied a window seat at the airport. He then takes to a mic and asks the crowd to demand freedom. The Yatra.com ad has a message: "Don't resort to sloganeering, use the app instead."
Watch it here:
The problem with this advertisement is, it not only belittles the students' protest but others across the nation as well.
Naturally, JNU students and alumni are quite miffed with the Yatra advertisement. They are rating the app one-star and criticizing it in the review section.
To put things in context, the Azaadi slogan was originally popularised by renowned feminist Kamla Bhasin in the women’s movement across south Asia to oppose patriarchy and injustice against women. She picked up the slogan from Pakistani feminists and improvised it.
The chant went like this – “Meri behane maange Azaadi, meri bacchi maange Azaadi, naari ka naara Azaadi... (My sisters want freedom, my daughter wants freedom, every woman’s slogan is freedom)”.
The slogan assumed a cult status with the Left parties and other groups fighting against social injustices lapped it up to further their struggle.
Using a Kanhaiya doppelganger and the same slogan to seek freedom from long queues is only a mockery of the struggles.
This isn't the first time advertisers have come up with the idea of scorning topical issues like this in an attempt to make it viral.
Last year, Pepsi did a similar thing with its "Pepsi Thi Pi Gaya" campaign, which poked fun at the Film & Television Institute of India protests, showing a student unable to keep the hunger strike going because he couldn't stop himself from drinking the soft drink.
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