MY FAIR LADY Jun28

MY FAIR LADY

India’s obsession with fairness is no secret. The average Indian matrimonial advertisement seeks the fair bride. I have worked for two years in rural Tamil Nadu. Often you start feeling a sense of righteous indignation when mothers bring their adolescent daughters in asking please tell us how to make her fair. Entreaties of she is gorgeous and you cant change her skin tone fell on deaf ears. A couple of times sheer frustration led me to say yes there’s one thing. You have to change her father. If you can go back in time and change the father maybe she will become fair. But, you can’t hold individuals responsible for the systematically ingrained prejudice against the dusky especially when the dowry is directly proportional to the Fitzpatrick skin score (A scoring system that classifies individuals from more likely to burn to more likely to tan) The socio-cultural aspects of colour are interesting. Ancient Hindu texts refer to Lord Krishna as saavla or dusky, the colour of the new moon. Yet we persistently paint him as blue. The Amar Chitrakatha comics had dark antagonists and fair protagonists. The invaders of India were largely fair the people out of Steppe, Mughals and the Colonial powers. The upper castes were fairer too. The fascination with being fair was not a uniquely Indian phenomenon. The labourers were toiling in the sun and were tanned while the feudal women lived indoor lives. Therefore, being fair was a sign of status. This is reflected in the large number of fairy tales which describe fair maidens. India too adopted this ideal of their overlords. This changed in Europe and America the 1900s where women of all classes began to work and the wealthy socialites could afford beach vacations that gave them...