Shri Sharad Yadav Ji is not known for making the great intelligent comments. His elucidations, observations and statements are usually straight, rustic and pointblank. However, you may disagree with his view but you can’t doubt his conviction. He says what he feels.
So, when on Thursday he made a sexist comment on south Indian women in Rajya Sabha, leaving some male members split their sides with laughter and women parliamentarians dumbstruck, I was neither entertained not flummoxed. It was Mr. Sharad Yadav – in one piece of his personality.
We the Indians revere BLACK color of skin – whether it’s Shankar’s or Krishna’s and Kali Devi. ‘Black is beautiful.’ Unfortunately, this reverence doesn’t seem to percolate down into our social life. The matrimonial adds in newspaper are eveready proof for that. Way back in early 70s, Unilever had launched a commercial skin lightening cream called “Fair and Lovely” to encash the fairness bias among Indians. Since then many companies promised us look like Gori. They knew that it is important for the Indian women to be fair. And now the men-folk are entrapped with the Fair & Smart Creams.
The great lady Nandita Das, a strong human being with a dusky complex, believes that the bias against dark skin has taken on new forms in the modern world. She has been urging the women to throw out their fairness creams and abandon the belief that dark skin is ugly. According to a Wall Street Journal report of July 2013, sale of fairness creams generates over $400 million in revenue a year in India, which is more than all other skincare products combined. I’ve yet to meet a girl who had happened to acquire the fair complexion after applying this cream since she knew about its pronounced effects upon skin and face.
I don’t think Mr. Yadav was wide of the mark when he declared – “Your god is dark like Ravi Shankar Prasad (present in the House), but your matrimonial ads insist on white-skinned brides.“ This scribe has never been a great admirer of Ravi Shankar Prasad kind of politics but the color of his skin in not very different from mine.
The Education Minister Smriti Irani urged him to refrain from making offensive remarks about women’s complexion in Parliament.“I appeal to the gentleman (Yadav) not to make comments on color of skin of women in this manner.“ Mr Yadav responded that he knew what she had been. Of course, the whole world know what she were and what she is.
Mr Yadav, who is a top leader of the Janata Dal (United) or JDU, was unapologetic about his remarks last week on “saanvli” (dark-complexioned) women. “What have I said?” he asked, rebutting the criticism he has received since his comments on Thursday. “Saanvli (dark complexioned) women are more in number in India, they are more in number the world over,” he said, adding that he is ready for a parliamentary debate on the controversy.
Sharad Yadav was at his best at very liberal and productive negativity and went on to discuss the complexion of south Indian women. He said, “The women of the south are dark but they are as beautiful as their bodies…We don’t see it here. They know dance.” It was the blatant objectification of women’s body which was crude and distasteful. That reflects a insular mindset. The shame of the moment was that several male members of the House were seen bursting into laughter at his crass comment instead of being silent. Yadav was touching the delicate vein when he mentioned that filmmaker Leslee Udwin whose documentary ‘India’s Daughter‘ included an interview of one of the rapists of the December 16 gang-rape must have got permissions easily because of her white skin.
Not long ago, the BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former party state head from Madhya Pradesh, Prabhat Jha had also offered a weird statement. He claimed that only rich people eat tomatoes and not the common man. “Only those who have red cheeks like tomato eat this priced vegetable.”
The least I would say to this senior leader is – ‘We all should respect the fire-lines of society and speech.’
Black is as beautiful as a bed of milky white clouds.
Black is as beautiful as soft as a newborn baby hair.
Black is as beautiful as standing up for what is right.
Black is as beautiful as trying on grandmother’s classy hats.
Black is as beautiful as you and I saying Hi!
Black is as beautiful as two sisters walking hand in hand.
Black is as beautiful as wading in a pond on a hot summer day.
Black is as beautiful as you holding your baby for the very first time.
Black is as beautiful as saying I miss you.
Black is as beautiful as going fishing with your dad.
Black is as beautiful as calling your mother on her birthday.
Black is as beautiful as two brothers playing basketball.
Black is as beautiful braiding your sister’s hair.
Black is as beautiful as grandpa taking you to the park.
Black is as beautiful as the sweet sound of a saxophone playing.
Black is as beautiful as eating mom’s Never Fell caramel cake.
Black is as beautiful as the bright rising sun.
Black is as beautiful as a simple kiss placed on the forehead.
Black is as beautiful as lilies on Easter morning.
Black is as beautiful as say I love you.
Black is me and I AM BEAUTIFUL.
………………..Sharon D Brown-Rogers
By: Naim Naqvi