I grew up listening to my Grandmother tell me “when you grow up, “Tere liya Gori Paree Jaisi dulhan Layenge” or in other words when you grow up we will get a Fair beautiful bride for you”
I would run away from her saying “Nani I don’t want to get married but that imaginary beautiful bride ruled my mind for some of my childhood years. I also remember my Maharashtrian neighbors in Mumbai who would tease their elder brother in famous Marathi folk song “Gori Gori Pan, Phula Sarkhi chan, Dada mala ek Vainee Aan, which translates as Very very Fair like a flower brother yourself a wife and a bhabhi for us.
It was drilled in my tender mind and most of the kids of my generation and I would imagine not much would have changed since then for the present generation for fascination of fair complexion rules.
As I grew up I realized the futility and malarkey of fair skin and rejected it outright yet overwhelming number of Indians have yet to change their attitudes, whether it’s the ludicrous TV commercial that portrays a dark girl winning a singing competition to the absurd commercial of a girl winning a cycling competition and yes it’s no longer restricted to females. One of our leading Bollywood star endorses a men’s fairness cream which preaches that being fair can get you not only girls but also jobs.
But what came as a huge jolt to me and many likeminded people was the launch of fairness cream for other body parts. I wondered is this for real? Can some people take their obsession for fair skin to this level?
There is a clear kind of discrimination being carried out across over society and we do not have to go far one just needs to open Matrimonial column of any news paper to read “Wanted tall fair beautiful girl for our son” and more importantly how many of us would indulge sanctimonious rhetoric and actually practice what we preach?
It’s not just about using a fairness cream but there are many examples like the Caucasian female dancers that ornate most of our dance sequences in bollywood completely incongruous with our not so white male actors these days. I had recently read a report about how Indian female supporting staff or female junior artist are feeling marginalized because of the presence of Caucasian’s in the film industry but of course such voices would never be heard and in most cases either be stifled or pushed under the rug. It’s shocking that such trend is not only ruling our minds but is now being shamelessly marketed across our TV screens. What kind of education and civil awareness have we acquired in schools and our homes?
With all the development and progress that we are so proud of in 2013 sadly we have not yet managed to remove the shackles of medieval mindset.
Building bridges and Rockets is achievement but real achievement and progress would only be achieved when we get rid of such racist mindset within our society unfortunately we still have to go a long way to achieve that.
By Sameer Khan
Image Source : IANS