A new advertisement for Surf Excel detergent that shows a Hindu girl dropping her Muslim friend at a mosque to pray on Holi, has drawn a huge amount of flak on social media platforms as being anti-Hindu.
Apart from Facebook and Twitter, the keyboard nationalists have also taken to showing their displeasure by review-bombing Excel on the Google Play store. Not Surf Excel though—the negative reviews are turning up on Microsoft Excel.
One of the latest reviews, which gives the app 5 stars, states, “I used to like this app, until they partnered with Surf and made such a disgusting anti religious ad. Now where ever I read the word Excel I can only think of anti Hindu propaganda. Shame on you for doing this.”
A one-star rating review is much more direct and to the point. The user writes, “boykot sarf excel. hindu birodh hai. pakisthan me ja kar business kar.” (Boycott Surf Excel. It is anti-Hindu. Take your business to Pakistan.) Another, coming in late in the day, writes, “Ye hindu virodhi hai,” meaning “this is anti-Hindu.”
Now, as we pointed out, it’s only been a short while since the ad came out and the criticism began, so the number of reviews could rise. And it’s entirely likely that some of these reviews could have been put up as a joke—to parody the nationalist mindset, with phrases like ‘Jai Gaumata’ sprinkled in.
In 2017, a leaked report said that Snapchat CEO Evan Speigel had said that the company didn’t plan to expand into India as the country was “too poor”—and Indians were instantly outraged. So much so that many took to Google Play to down-rate Snapchat.