Saturday, January 17, 2009

why we all want to be fair

Today I’m going to tell u a story. When I was young, say, about five, or may be even more, though that is inconsequential to the facts being presented herewith , I always used to ask my mother why wasn’t I as fair as her or, for that matter, my father? She would look at me, I can still vividly recount the emotion in her eyes- of profound love, and with her voice quivering with emotion, she would say, son, men who are fair don’t look handsome at all!
I’ve used this small little anecdote to highlight the social stigma attached to skin colour, especially if it is dark. It’s a fact-we Indians have a penchant for fair skin, a fact corroborated by the presence of such a large number of fairness products in the market to achieve the desired results. Daily we are bombarded with advertisements of such products whose sole aim seem to be nothing short of proclaiming that dark skin is worse than being a cripple. We are fed with visuals of women being rejected by men for being dark and accepted by the same generous soul after using a particular brand of cream and becoming fair, much to the delight and unfeigned relief of her parents. What a fallacy! as if, changing the skin colour were so easy.
But this is not the crux of the matter. The cause for concern is the undue importance given to such a trivial thing. The same people who actually propagate such beliefs by accepting them, I am sure, would be left speechless and bewildered, if asked what bearing a person’s skin colour has on his character? Would Mahatma Gandhi be any different, if he were to be fair? The answer is a definite no. He came to be called a mahatma, not because of his appearance, but by his deeds. Then, why this obsession to be fair? Perhaps, the ghosts of British Raj just refuse to die. Having spent such a long period under subjugation, we have developed some kind of anathema towards our own skin colour and just refuse to believe that we in our skin can be as good as our fair skinned erstwhile masters. This kind of servile attitude manifests itself in its most ghastly form when we start showing our dislike for dark skin.
Skeptics may argue saying it’s a problem with our government. it doesn’t formulate requisite rules to curb the activities of such companies and ban their products. , and so on But, the problem is not with the government. why should a politician care about something which doesn’t bring him votes? save for one or two dusky beauties of bollywood, we are enamoured by actresses and models who are all invariably fair. And those blonde bombshells just seem to be the cynosure of all the eyes of teenagers and grown up alike. Men crave for them and women just want to be like them. perhaps, this just explains why we have only blonde Barbie dolls!

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