Color Matters – A Tussle of WHITE vs All Within India’s Alter-Ego

“You have a beautiful skin color” Really? What does skin color have to do with beauty? Beauty is something from within; Its nothing to put straightforward on your skin color. The Indian obsession with White and keep on MAGNIFYING it with multifarious products available in the market currently reached to a next level. A common tendency in India is a girl often complimented based on how fair her skin complexion. The phrase North Indians, Punjabis are ‘GORA CHITTA’ is casual in daily life. In a country where our deep-rooted understanding of culture is based on its ‘Unity in Diversity’, it becomes quite difficult to register the fact that now we are diversifying people based on their skin color. The lighter-skinned are not only warmly welcomed, but the fact that how privilege they are can’t be ignored. I don’t have problem with white skin color people, but in a skewed Indian economy, it is essential to understand the mind set which still manages to evaluate humankind based on a racial descriptor. As if there exist a physical board to evaluate someone’s capabilities and giving them a score card based on color.

My Personal Experience  :

Not just color, we Indians have a tendency not to accept our own too. I remember the brutal experience with one of my south Indian friends where he not only received derogatory remarks (OYE KALLU, KALU, SIDE SE CHAL) about his color. But also on his existence (TU PAIDA HI KYU HUA RE). The offensive part is you are questioning someone’s existence based on their skin color and you don’t even feel disgusted! Obviously, we Indians are champions in humiliating our own!

In another grotesque experience my brother faced the same discrimination when a neighbouring lady misunderstood him as a trash picker and asked him to pick up the scraps kept outside her house. When he explained politely about her mistake, she replied – Your color seems like the trash picker (Tumhare Rang se mujhe laga kuda uthane wala hoga). No matter how shocked and grossed you feel about these two incidents, the bottom line of the color discrimination is that skin color is tied to what kind of profession you have, and this leads to another grave topic ‘CASTE’.

India is the conglomeration of divergent cultures and colorful races which successively formed the country that we know today. Obviously, people belong to distinctive geographical background which finishes their skin tone and facial features. For Instance, a North-eastern is commonly known to have a yellowish skin tone, whereas, population from Jammu and Kashmir are bit whitish. These color distinction shows that physical environment plays a major role behind physical features and color of Indians. Earlier, the definition of beauty was not endowed on the basis of color and it becomes quite essential to understand when and where the characterization of beauty changed in the Indian mind-set.

Discrimination based on color

In a country like India which is culturally vibrant, where every color is welcomed on festivals, lifestyles, traditions, and celebrations, how can we discriminate among different skinned people. Is it justified?

Symbolism of Color in India :

The symbolism of color in India has its deep roots at the time of evolution. With each passing century, India developed its love for color and its significance. But the saddest part is now the significance has turned in to discrimination and further into obsession. Obsession of getting white or having a whiter skin has now overshadowed our originality of carrying a dusky color in a bold and confident way.

Unlike many other countries in the world, there are some unique and bizarre color classifications in India. The irony is we manipulate things based on our comfort and understanding. For example, widows are forced to wear white color sarees making it unlucky color because you are binding it with the fact that it marks death in the family. But when you are finding a suitable girl for your boy, you want a whitish one! (Where’s the logic man?) You are contradicting your understanding of white as a color by yourself. Or maybe there’s no logic at all!

Does Black Life Really Matters?

Let’s Recall the time when whole social media was brimming with ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’. The obstacle faced by Africans are way beyond our understanding and by just copy pasting ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ can’t help them. The ground reality of their issues, problems, and what they were actually protesting was not exactly about their skin color; It was about their identity as a human being which was disoriented and nowhere to be found among the shackles of whites. The Indians are no different than whites because we discriminate not just on color, but on caste, creed, religion, male, female, position, job, and what not. We tend to look people, rather judge them based on our understanding of right and wrong.

We whined about ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ without paying attention towards people in India who are daily going through emotional, mental, and physical trauma based on their skin color. Don’t we discriminate people from Assam, South India, and many other? Yes, we do. And truly speaking no matter how much we post on social media. But we will never be able to accept the basic understanding of ‘ASSAMESE LIVES MATTER’, ‘SOUTH INDIAN LIVES MATTER’, ‘MARATHI LIVES MATTER’, ‘BIHARI LIVES MATTER’, and most importantly ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’.

Do read other blogs: Varanasi – An Alternate Universe Offering Moksha After Death

Deepti Ratnam

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