Friday, 26 July 2013

"Fair" is not "Lovely"

Require bride within 20-22 yrs., 5’-2”, fair, pretty, good-looking, homely, minimum H.S./graduate. 
Require bride both EB/WB, caste no bar, fair, beautiful, minimum Madhyamik, homely/working bride
Rs. 30,000 P.M. Fair, handsome, modgulya, father rtd. principal govt. high school. Require bride, WB, homely, fair
Professionally qualified slim, beautiful, fair, match.

These are some random classifieds that i found on the internet. Somehow, we (Indians) tend to associate the term “Fair” with superlative degrees of beauty. Like “Fair&Lovely”, “Fair&Pretty”, “Fair&Beautiful”, etc. Sometimes it gets as absurd as even “Fair&Slim”. I would love to be Fair in that case, if i can easily pass for a slim chic! The worst of all the “Fair” beauty myth , the one which i have feared all my life, has already happened in India. Yes – Now guys have to be “Fair” & “Handsome”. Really?! Whatever happened to the “Tall, dark & handsome” hunks we drooled over!?

The situation is not as light as it seems. This myth, sown by our very own Brits, who managed to sow many such seeds in the very fragile Indian minds, has taken very deep roots  into our socio-cultural systems, and stands tall posing an unshakable image! This myth has grown into each and every mind of an Indian, so much, that when two people meet after a long time, “Hey how have you been all these years! You have gone dark? you look so dull, what happened?”, such conversations have become very common in every Indian household. So if a guy/girl becomes darker in complexion, means, he/she has ceased to be attractive anymore! Seems very ridiculous you might think. But wait! There is more –

“....The couple wanted a donor with ‘ very fair skin, but, since someone with such a special physical attribute was not available on Indian databases, the couple decided to look abroad for Caucasian or ‘white’ egg donors. (a case in Mumbai which happened earlier this month)

Yes. It has reached this level already! I am dreading a situation in India when “Colour” is going to appear right next to the Age,Sex,Religion,Caste columns. It is already there; just that it is invisible for now. But it is just implied, like a silent letter in a word.

In 2009, there was huge outcry about the racial abuses the Indian students faced in Australia. The Indian media was all over the place reporting how the Australians, were racist maniacs! Well, Hello? Reality check – aren’t we doing the same, back home? In seeking a fair bride, a fair groom or even a fair donor!?

Thanks to the millions of money invested in fairness creams industries, Indian girls have managed to glue themselves strongly to this “fair” myth. So there are these fairness cream commercials, which shows a girl who is dark and low in confidence, and a failure in life, then comes the fairness cream to the rescue, and what a miracle! Life becomes so beautiful , the girl clears job interview, she becomes a pilot, gets the guy she wants, wins laurels for the nation, becomes CM, PM, and what not! Aren’t we supposed to be ashamed that we are caught up in such a messy web of illusion? Are we really that dumb, to think that “fairness” of skin makes you a successful person? Truth is, we are. Why else would the market for fairness creams in India touch nearly 2000 crores? And now with more “fair & handsome” guys, I am pretty sure, this figure will just keep rising.

It is “higher” than high-time, we wake up and come out of this “fair’ myth. Honestly, i don’t see that happening in the next hundred years, atleast. But we always have believed in change. So we shall continue to do so.

“Fairness” of skin is just pigmentation. People in India are darker than people in America, is just for the scientific reason that we are located closer to the equator, and our skin cells are designed to reflect UV radiation better, hence darker. So next time, somebody “sympathises” with you for not being born “fair”, tell them you reflect much better UV radiation than them!

Look beyond the pigmentation, at the bigger picture, and yes, Fair is not lovely. I want to end this post with a Tamil poem written by the legendary poet, Subramaniya Bharathiyar.
(Mind you, he wrote this poem in early 1900s)

Vellai  nirathoru poonai-engal
Veetil valaruthu kander!
Pillaigal petrathap punai -avai
Peruk korunira magum!

Sambal niramoru kutti - karunj
Sandhu niramoru kutti!
Pambin niramoru kutti-vellaip
Palin niramoru kutti!

Yavum orethara mandro?
Intha Niramsiri dhendrum - idhu
Eatramen runcholla lamo?

- Put an end to racism, it begins at home, in your mirror!