As we all know, India is in the grasping hands of the racial system. But what it is, and why?
From a very young age, most of them are asked to apply various home remedies and skincare products to whiten their skin. Even pregnant ladies tend to consume ‘Kesari’ to enhance the unborn baby’s skin color.
People think being bright is beautiful, and dark skin is prone to be judged. There are always questions like, who will marry dark-skinned men or women?
India’s Fairness Market Size
Racism has been a part of our country for ages and continues to go on. As per the India Fairness Cream and Bleach Market between 2018-2023 the market of Indian fairness cream is now worth Rs 3,000 crore and expected, to reach over Rs 5,000 crore by 2023.
One among the brands, widely known as ‘ Fair and Lovely’ which was launched in 1975 by Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) recently changed its name to ‘Glow and Lovely’ after a huge controversy.
‘Fair and Lovely’ is India’s famous and leading fairness cream brands. The company promoted fairness and skin whitening led to the propagation of racial stereotypes. After most of the population were against the brand’s name, they removed the word ‘fair’ and replacing it with ‘glow’.
The first-ever skin whitening product was found in 1919 by E.S. Patanwala and, the brand was called ‘Afghan Snow’.
Obsession With Fairness Before Independence
Now, let’s talk about how the Indians fell for fair skin starting before Independence. Indians hardly knew about racism until the outbreak of British rules. Britishers belonged to a geographic condition as they allured around the snow and, Indians lived with the heat of the sun.
Hence, the geographic conditions impacted the skin colors of these two locations. When Britishers, for the first time, entered India, they were amazed to see such different face color and took it quite negatively, this divided the Britishers and Indians. Britishers attributed advancements and mannerism with skin color, and this is how brown color started rooting as inferior.
Not only Britishers but, many invaders like French, Dutch, Portuguese, Mughals who came to India beginning from the 1400s, had white skin tone. The Britishers named Fort St. George as “White Town” as there lived all the white-skinned Britishers and ‘Black Town’ for the place where the Indians lived.
Soon after the British entered India, they started ruling out the people with dark skin and low class. They usually offered jobs to the light skin colored Indians, which divided them even further. Dark skin soon was opted as a source of discrimination even after Indian Independence.
Earlier, it was said that the fair skin was for the upper class like the Brahmins and Kshatriyas, the lower castes who were Dalits were darker in complexions as they worked more in the sun. And the discrimination still goes on based on skin color.
Racism In 21st Century
Discrimination still goes on, even during the 21st century, especially on social media platforms. The negative comments are leading people to use extra filters and effects to look fairer and glowing. Many are promoting Indian brown skin tone are embarrassing their beauty through online platforms like the video content creators, photography pages encouraging brown models.
In a recent album, ‘Brown Skin Girl’ by Beyoncé, the American singer-songwriter promoted brown and black skin. She included an Indian in her album to spread a message that all the colors are beautiful as racism is seen almost everywhere in the world.
But, Beyonce Sharma Jayegi, a song from Khaali Peeli was just a shame. While Beyoncé is trying to promote dark skin color, Bollywood tries to promote racism by saying, Beyonce, a brown-skinned woman, will be ashamed/shy of Ananya Pandey’s fair skin.
After a promotional video of the song was released, many of the viewers apologised to Beyonce through their Twitter accounts and on other social media platforms. Also, the video was disliked ( 1 million dislikes) and received negative comments on youtube.
Soon, the controversial song’s name was changed to “Duniya Sharma Jayegi”. The song was initially promoting colorism with its lyrics.
In India, most of the Indian men and women tend to choose fair skin partner for marriages. Recently, a matrimony site Shaadi.com removed the option to choose a partner depending on their skin tone or declare their skin color after an online petition which asked the company to change their option which received over 1,5000 signatures.
There are many such incidences in the country which promotes racism, wherein most of the people are coming forward to erase the discrimination.
Dark skin is beautiful and having extra melanin is healthy. Be proud to be brown.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The News Grass.)