'Un'Fair India - A Colour in Past

By: Shalini Mira
When I was younger, my sore thumb perpetually found its way into a pungent mood as soon as our maid began comparing her child to the likes of my fair complexion. She would continuously brag about her daughter’s cool undertones and Oh! How the sun dazzled off those porcelain pods like dew on a four leaf clover, rare and malign. I was forever in a rut of confusion because piecing together the mystery of a lower class, dark skinned woman (a notion by our society and its many flaws)  birthing an ‘Aryan’ like us was paradoxical. For our very family was led to believe from the beginning that ivory skin meant we were of royal descent, a rare breed. However, a soul changing attribute entered my thought the day I met said daughter. Dark of skin, weak of bone and dim of wit, seeing the daughter put my string of juvenile introspects to rest because now at present I know why she sold her offspring in such high regards - Shame of skin colour. This made me empathize with people of all hues.
But I am not here to talk about the age old ‘Skin Lightening Cream Apocalypse in India’, no, that’s been done dime a dozen times, I am here to shed light upon a singular topic of how contemporary generations overcame this absurdity despite being made the soul of all ridicule.

Were our elders really so shallow that societal premonition was based upon tones of a fleshy kind? Cursed were those family members who were burnt by charcoal and sinned was the mother who produced this darkened ape. Ever heard of a mob of pity-parties? Well that’s what my shaded friends were made to grow up on, somehow it was a ‘Past-Life Karma’ which they must exhume, or their re-birth would be the shade of an Asura’s hind…
Noted that us shadowed creatures were a sin to walk this land, but has this spared the generation from living in a death trap? Not quite. But we can’t hold a gun to their heads; inundating the fact on a regular basis, making us believe that the charred skin is a negation of a Godly kind, is not wrong. Why you ask? Because the more we grow up to loathe the person in the mirror, the more we learn that there is nothing we could do about it, keynote being ‘Grow Up’, because eventually that is what we do, we grow. We exist. We understand. We empathise. We see clarity, a clarity that was hovered over the elder’s baseless hue and cry. Hence, we settle for a greater intelligent version of ourselves. Practical.

We are all settling into our own selves, as the years progress, racism of a jolly nature is a play whose tickets we do not wish to buy anymore, it’s a cheap replica of an old rhyme, something that needs to be seized for forgery. Imagine denying a dress just because it was made out of cloth, well, it’s cloth, that is what it does. Similarly, there is no point in beating the haggard drum time and again. In India for instance, in my opinion and immediate surroundings, we have begun to shun the farce created by a Fairness Revolution, a phenomenon that should have been laid to rest the moment 1865 hit and slavery was banished for good. But this is a cathartic release, one where we mend our mind to believe an eradication of colour bias has happened.
Yes, we did grow up and learn that these menial repetitions hold no major bar in our lives, but did we really move on? Not in a wholesome way. Anti-fairness cream advertisements, posts and social influences did take the society by storm, however, the psyche of our shade is still stuck where we left it. My friends for example, those who are warmer toned than I, have always felt as if they were trumped by snow-skinned candidates be it for jobs or university admissions. It is a bunch of gibberish but it is a part of their thought process, an in-built sob-story meant for self-pity.

We don’t and we shouldn’t. Being blind doesn’t change the fact that I was born, so how will turning away make my hues disappear? Maybe in the near future, we realize the adverse effects of greater issues thundering down upon this society. But for now it is safe to say that India has not grown out of this issue of skin colours.



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