While Surf Excel’s Holi advertisement had to face backlash on social media for showing communal harmony, a picture taken at CPA College of Arts and Science in Kerala’s Malappuram district is receiving universal praise. The photo, which was clicked on Holi, shows a group of students providing a safe passage to another student who was going to a local mosque.
According to the management, the students began celebrating Holi at the college after their classes ended. Muhammed Suhail, a second-year Botany student, and his friend were wearing white kurtas and were on their way to exit the campus. Suhail told TOI,
“It was around 4pm that students started the celebrations after the class. I had to attend my evening Dars (religious class) in Valanchery mosque. It was not possible for me to pass through the crowd, without getting stained. Then one of the students, Ajith, took the initiative to move students and provided way for me.”
Mohammed Mahsooque, a second-year BBA student who clicked the photo, says that the photo was not planned and it was only after it went viral that he could see the coincidence. He told TNM,
“I have seen the Surf Excel ad but it never occurred to me to take a picture like that. I was handling a DSLR, lent me by a friend. Suddenly, these two students emerged in white and said they wanted to go to the mosque, and so, not to sprinkle colours on them. Everyone stopped the celebrations and let them pass since there was only one way to reach the gate.”
Here’s what people had to say about the picture on social media:
Students of a college were celebrating Holi when a student walked by. They took care to not spray colours on him as he was heading for the Mosque. What Surf Excel debate? Life is good here. Love my Kerala (P.S now please don’t boycott us for this. We are like this only) pic.twitter.com/QacafDTcIB
— Weed (@goonerblues) March 23, 2019
Kerala represents India
Kerala = Love
— Kabir Khan (@iKabir_Khan) March 24, 2019
This is one #Awesome thing on Internet right now i have seen. Thanks! 🙂
— SOURCES (@JhootendraModi) March 23, 2019
This is the true spirit of India. Despite the diversity, we live together as one.
And this spirit cannot be broken by any political force.
— Chacha Chaudhary (@ChaudharyUncle) March 24, 2019
Released on February 27, Surf Excel’s one-minute Holi ad features a girl escorting her Muslim friend to the mosque on Holi. With the intent of spreading a message about religious harmony, some argued that the ad was promoting ‘love jihad’ and “Hindu phobia”. As a result of the online backlash, #BoycottSurfExcel trended on Twitter for a few days. However, many came forward lauding the brand and countering those who tried to promote hate.