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”.

Also Read |  Are Indians racist? Just ask Tarun Vijay

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.

Also Read | Imperfect and racist, that is who we are

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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  1. M
    Mahender Goriganti
    Apr 18, 2017 at 7:46 am
    why this nonsense keeps reappearing on the front page of Islamic express is mind boggling
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      Dhruv Gupta
      Apr 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm
      While Indian Express is publishing articles like this, why is it doing half-page adverts about Fairness cream on the front page as in today's - Monday, April 17, 2017 - issue; U-B FAIR Cream is advertised, saying "An ideal remedy for men", "Ab star dikhega". "An ideal remedy for men" - clearly saying that there is something that darker skin men need remediation for? "Ab star dikhega" - darker skin men can't be stars? I highly respect your journalism of courage reporting. Hope you have the same values/standards when it comes to selecting advertisers.
      Reply
      1. A
        AlsoIndian
        Apr 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm
        There is nothing wrong in the fairness cream but with the Indian racist mindset where being fair is superior to dark skin, where being Brahmin is superior to Dalit, where being a Thakur is superiod to Yadav, where being a Hindu is superior to a Christian or Muslim, where being a North Indian is superior to South Indian! We approve, elevate, exploit and propagate discrimination on the basis of religion, caste and colour. India will never be able to prosper a nation unless these differences are exterminated.
        Reply
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          goldenfig
          Apr 15, 2017 at 5:19 pm
          Consider banning modern civilization in order to be fair in policy making for the good of all and malice towards none.
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          1. R
            Raman Govindan
            Apr 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm
            Bollywood is a fine example for extraordinary privileges for one whom they consider as fair skinned and straight nosed persons. if the rest of the nations boycott its films, it will learn its lessons.
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            1. S
              ss
              Apr 14, 2017 at 10:59 pm
              If beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, surely it would be unreasonable to shove down everyone's eyes, my concept of beauty. If a somebody finds a fair complexioned person more beautiful to a less fair person, the surely he / she is en led to his preference. No amount of political correctness will not change the reality that in all cultures, including African cultures, fairness is widely viewed positively.
              Reply
              1. S
                Sreesheel Sreekumar
                Apr 13, 2017 at 10:52 pm
                Tarun Vijay from his Wikipedia page seems to like South India ! God knows why he made such a stupid comment, which even a school kid would not make !
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                1. C
                  CClements
                  Apr 13, 2017 at 2:12 pm
                  Most north Indians do not like black people. Period. Stop retracting to please those that criticized your last post. What you said then was the truth, nothing but the truth. It is the time that Indians stop being politically correct and start calling a spade a spade. Historically, Dravidians are a black race.
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                    Manoj Sharma
                    Apr 16, 2017 at 10:30 pm
                    Nailed it ! Its not just complexion also ... Dravidian are different culture and ethnicity , food habits .. behavior patterns and even accent. But US and all large countries have people of different ethnicities , example US so what's wrong with it !
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                    AR Mallick
                    Apr 13, 2017 at 3:20 am
                    Mr Tarun, ur comments are beautiful. Love to c the same spirit in full applied.
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                    1. V
                      Vidya
                      Apr 12, 2017 at 8:42 pm
                      Talking about skin color may be insensitive and rude, but it is not racist or anti national and collating the two is ridiculous. In a country where people are blase' about asking when someone is getting married or when someone is having kids, it is irritating but inevitable that people will comment on someones fair skin or dark skin, just like they comment on a persons clothes or hair.
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                        CClements
                        Apr 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm
                        It's not racist. True, but to make a mention is impolite. I suppose people should keep their reservations to themselves. Courtesy demands it.
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                        Narayan
                        Apr 12, 2017 at 5:16 am
                        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 my - from authors text
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                        1. A
                          ams
                          Apr 12, 2017 at 12:22 am
                          abhut chu$$iye bhare pade hain sri sri sri sri sri Modi ji ki sarkar mein
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                          1. S
                            sudhish
                            Apr 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm
                            Have not seen an Indian state (baring Kashmir in North & 7 states of North east) without Dark skinned local people. Pity on these leaders, who knows nothing of a country they represent.
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                              Manoj Sharma
                              Apr 16, 2017 at 10:34 pm
                              There could be some darker skin people in North but not so dark to be compared with dark in south India .. there is no comparison .. say Himachal or Punjab.. there are no dark people here kind of dark you see in South . The way he expressed was not correct but there was truth in his ertion to a large extent!
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                              Gopalkrishnan Nair
                              Apr 11, 2017 at 3:08 pm
                              Hi. Let us face the facts. RSS is a north Indian cow belt party and BJP is it's product. They think that they are ARYANs. The south indians are Dravidas. They do not consider north easterns as eqals to anextended far inferior. RSS are the matsters of pretensions. Some times, unintentionally the real convictions comes out. Then they will say that it was a mistake. An apology shall be sent out. The next step is to question the people talking about. They will ask everyone not to politicise the issue in the national interest. The timid lot will go silent. The media (modia) shall be asked to kill the story and dutifully they wll. The mindset will keep on growing. The oppression will grow. In period of time the timid will resign to their fate. That is how the caste system was established in clever mani tions by some people in this country and millions are the victims of the same even today. The history has a dirty nack of repeating itself. Surely that wll. Well the timids are stupids
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                                Saurabh
                                Apr 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm
                                Media Modia is a very nice & logical spin of word!!..Wonder how we missed it till now!..;) Sir, In fact, the very famous ZEE NEWS actually published an article on it's website just 2 hrs. after the article of this incident of Vijay detailing "the other side of Tarun Vijay" in which they talked about his work for South Indians etc.!! Never remembered any one to have gotten such cushiony & velvety treatment by the "Media"!! & anyways that didn't probably remove the w point which his statement had generated!!
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                                  vidya
                                  Apr 12, 2017 at 8:53 pm
                                  On the contrary, it is the Hindu right that has rejected the Aryan as a race theory and it is the leftists and evangelists who are clinging to the Aryan Dravidian race theory. Genetics has shown that all Indians are one people and have been in the Indian subcontinent for 60,000 years.
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                                  ram
                                  Apr 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm
                                  He is black & white. Result of RSS coaching
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                                  1. R
                                    Raju
                                    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm
                                    Fine! His statement misunderstood by opposition or who are criticize him . I think he gave a example only.
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                                    1. S
                                      Saurabh
                                      Apr 11, 2017 at 5:22 pm
                                      Example of what? That South Indians are a different Race? When he gives an example saying "We" are living with "them", please elaborate what that reveals? Does it have any other meaning than the following: Indian means North Indians Or even worse "Non-Black" Indians that have been dwelling with "black Indians"? How did he compose an iden y of "Indian" based on Color? Did he not? BTW I don't support any punishment for him, but at least let this help us reveal what lies inside us!!..Why any attempt to give a spin to it?
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                                        Manoj Sharma
                                        Apr 16, 2017 at 10:42 pm
                                        Why don't you accept the fact that south Indians are a different ethnicity ? what is the common factor except religion ? food ? physical looks ( even if we ignore complexion) ? culture? language similarity? I can go on .. important for matured society is to accept the fact that all big countries have people of many ethnicities be it US or China , Brazil.. we have 3 .. North South and North East.. its very clear
                                    2. S
                                      Shahid
                                      Apr 11, 2017 at 12:44 pm
                                      We all have different skin colours but that should no be the reason for discrimination
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                                        TIHARwale
                                        Apr 11, 2017 at 11:08 am
                                        North Indians posses fair color compared to South Indians for the reason Southern India is nearer to equator however Tarun Vijay is of the knowlegable opinion that Babar and his army from Central Asia contributed to the fair color during the long Mughal era by cohabiting with the Indians in North India.
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                                          yugantar
                                          Apr 12, 2017 at 7:34 pm
                                          perfect reply
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                                            CS
                                            Apr 13, 2017 at 7:29 pm
                                            Correction: it would be good if the term 'fair color' should be replaced with the term 'lighter color' as fair is in general ociated with 'better' or 'beautiful' in the normal usage.
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                                              Manoj Sharma
                                              Apr 16, 2017 at 10:44 pm
                                              South Indian Dravidians are a different ethnicity from North even if they are not dark complexion ..except religion there is no similarity. Stop BS and lying here.!
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