Black and beautiful: Indians have to be fair in approach, not looks

Talking about colour in a multi-coloured society like India, itself is divisive and anti-national.

Written by Ushy Mohan Das | Updated: April 7, 2017 7:41 pm
bjp mp tarun vijay, tarun vijay, tarun vijay attacked, dalit entry temples, tarun vijay dalit entry BJP leader Tarun Vijay.

Indian sloth bears are black and polar bears are white. In one word “climate” is one of the reasons, genome the other.

Without a doubt, some Indians are a strongly colour obsessed lot, maybe due to oversaturation of ‘Fair and Lovely’ and ‘Fair and Handsome’ advertisements as well as all manners of skin-whitening creams, lotions, and soaps.

Even if you are 100 per cent Indian, your fellow Indians might still discriminate against you on the basis of the colour of your skin, which region of India you come from, what language you speak, your religion, your caste and much more.

Some Indians can be such unabashed, in-your-face, racists. In the interest of fairness, I should point out that oftentimes, lighter-skinned Indians despise darker-skinned Indians.

The most recent to suffer from this foot in mouth disease, Tarun Vijay, the former BJP MP, told Al Jazeera TV that “if we were racist why would we live with South Indians” who are black.

If there is a question in India that upsets me more than any other, it is this one. “You must be a south Indian”. When I ask, “but how did you know?” people have said “people from south India are dark skinned”.

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Please stop asking these stereotypical questions. All they do is further perpetuate the stereotypes and increase racial animosity between Northerners and Southerners. We could debate ad nauseam if north Indians are fair skinned and south Indians are dark skinned. To prove our point, we could come up with explanations based on genetics, migration or climate. In many different cultures and countries around the world, skin colour plays a huge role in the concept of beauty. Frequent sightings of dark skinned people portrayed negatively in the media is heavily exploited, while light skinned and non-black individuals are portrayed more positively. Sometimes people make statements such as, “You’re pretty for someone who’s black-skinned”or “pretty for a south Indian girl” This in no shape or form, is a compliment.

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But for God’s sake, what does it really matter? Why should this be a topic of any consequence? Both North and South India have the mixed complexioned people, from very dark to lighter. Be it Tamil Nadu, Kerala, AP, Telangana or Karnataka, all these states have their fair share of all complexions.

To reiterate, the colour of the skin that you were born with should be just that. What a person makes of themselves and all of their aspirations should be what they are judged on, not their skin colour. It doesn’t matter where an African or South Indian falls on the spectrum of colour because at the end of the day, they are still black.

As a realist, I have to face the fact that these types of things do not disappear overnight. Talking about colour in a multi-coloured society like India, itself is divisive and anti-national. It is time, we realise the anti-national nature of this prejudice, stop spreading and talking about this divisive myth. All you need to be is ‘fair’ in your approach not looks.

Views of the author are her own.

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