In between a television advertisement and entertainment- a fair skin model with blond hair walks into an office for an interview. She combs her hair – applies a fairness cream. Kaboom! She gets the job. The interviewer stands up in applause, people start clapping and the following taglines start playing in the background-

“7 days fairness guaranteed. Fairness gets you what you want. Fairness is marriage. Fairness is success. Fairness is self-esteem. “

Fairness is nothing but a transpiring propaganda.

Since when has fair skin and blond hair been natural for the entirety of India? Why do the print media, television, corporate(s), film industries a.k.a. Bollywood and erstwhile market participant support the fairness programs and the said prejudice? Why are Indians per se obsessed with fairness? Why are people obsessed with fairness? Is fairness more important than equality and self-esteem? Instead of promoting fairness ideology why not promote a healthy skin bereft of the colour biased discrimination?

In a country where racism and casteism are bred into since childhood, culturally and socially along with a commonwealth ideology, the idea of a beautified fair skin is bombarded into people’s lives with aggressive advertising. This equates fair skin with not just beauty but success and happiness. The obsession with fair-complexion, despite being shameful and irresponsible, is in blatant disregard towards the majority of the population which is either brown or dark-skinned.  

India and its obsession with fairness viz. this cultural paradox is also unsafe on so many levels- such as causing insidious self-esteem issues and developing inferiority complex amongst others. The very ideology that “gora hai toh achha hai” (Fair is better) is as regressive as Trump’s statement “grab ‘em all by the pussies”.

patanjali-ad-dark-complexsion-skin-aliment-759-tweet

Surprisingly, this thought is so deeply etched in our lifestyle that people compare the complexion amongst the brown skins as well. I observed this when I was faced with an awkward situation where a colleague of mine went on comparing our skins-

*”Why are you applying this powdered cream on your skin?” I questioned it out of curiosity.

I want to look and pretty” she replied.

Quizzed, I inquired further “We aren’t fair, just brown. Then why?

Because the fairer you are the prettier you look.

This mindset sent me into a deep thought. I didn’t object to my colleague’s thinking and let her be as it is, but the deep obsession with skin whitening clearly reflected the ingrained commonwealth mindset and a deeply seated racism. This is further reflected from the regressive skin and colour based humour seen on the Indian television. Comedians constantly making jokes on dark-skinned people, contestants painting themselves dark and the other contestants running away from him/her because being dark means being ugly. This scornful belief is also seen in the countless butt of jokes or roasts- on and off the televisions.

Sadly a roast, which is an insult- based comedy is hugely popular amongst youngsters and majority of us are fine with it. For dark skin is an acceptable insult to us since it isn’t anything serious. But when a long history of suppression and racism on the basis of caste, creed or colour is persistent in a 21st-century society, it doesn’t remain funny anymore. Rather it becomes a tragedy.

This is further reflected from the brand Patanjali by Baba Pranam-dev who has launched his own beauty cream i.e. skin lightening product. Clearly reflecting that behind the idyllic Incredible India slogan their lies an ominous message- enjoy the white snows of Himalayas but if you are black tread softly in the streets of India. Surprisingly, there are a plethora of brands working on similar lines, with fair and lovely, fair and handsome a named few.

Also in view of the aforesaid, social justice in India has always been clouded by personal prejudice. It speaks of the public culture shaped by private inhibitions and lack of civic rule and sense. My direct message to the Indian mothers telling their futile proud sons “tere liye gori biwi layenge” (we will get a fair skinned girl for you), please cut the slack. Instead of teaching your children the positives of a fair skinned girl, how about you teach them the idea of respecting a woman? This will do more good to the society as a whole than having a fair skinned lineage.

Come out of your commonwealth idiocentric ideologies! Every colour is beautiful. Whether it is a “dark is beautiful campaign” or a “white is superior campaign”, everyone is special, everyone is pretty. So is the orange head of the white house.

Brandishing people and their choices on the basis of their skin tone is not evolution but rather degradation of human rights. Hopefully, someday we shall eliminate this obsession with fair skin from the Indian culture and not debate upon the pedagogical lines of fair vs dark skin.

– boringbug


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Posted by The Boring Bug

A paperback in the world of kindle, boringbug is a reluctant blogger, a sketch artist by hobby and a lawyer. The blog www.boringbug.com is a part reflection of his experiences, dialogues and opinions. If you appreciate his writing, you can reach him out on Instagram (@theboringbug) or Twitter (@boringbug).

9 Comments

  1. hey such an amazing write up! very interesting take on this issue.. i have a blog on a similar topic please check it out – https://asmitamandhare.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/unfair-and-lovely
    awaiting feedback!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Thank you. I have posted my opinionated feedback on your blog post.

      regards,

      Like

  2. […] the Indian middle class is a ripe target for international brands. This is reflected from the overflowing advertisements of the foreign products on television(s) or glossy magazines. Brands ranging from Ray-ban to Armani, Nike to Bata, […]

    Like

    Reply

  3. You articulate exactly my thoughts when I was travelling around India – their astonishment at my Nigerian friend’s skin was madness when her complexion was almost the same as many of the locals we met

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. I understand where you are coming from, and it is saddening to see such behavior from my own people. (Only if I could apologise on their behalf).
      Surprisingly this inherent biasedness is common in the entirety of Asia and other parts of the world. I remember being addressed as a Paki in London and Manchester, being discriminated in Switzerland and being treated inferior in Singapore (until my objection).

      There seems to be a colour based appeasement amongst the public (brown or black), something which either we are born with or we learn through the means of our society. This is somehow far too common in the South Asian subcontinent.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. coincidently,i’ve mentioned the same thing in my new article.Well written!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Thank you. Can you forward me the link to your article?

      Liked by 1 person

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