Much has been said about the subcontinent’s archaic obsession with the “goray gaal” (fair skin). And while many amongst us will opine our disapprobation, there will be quite a few of the same lot who will flock to the air-conditioned stores (or non air-conditioned ) to try out another latest addition to the numerous miracle creams that are the self-acclaimed magic ticket to getting the Prince Charming who drives a Mercedes.
In this day and age, it is a highly Quixotic notion to “ooh and aah” over white skin and frown with distaste at a brown or even slightly wheatish complexion. In fact, it has always been a Quixotic notion. After all, how can the colour of a person’s skin define their roles as prospective husbands and wives and daughters-in-law and sons-in-law? Compatibility, personality and character, have been told to go play hide-and-seek. D’ Accord?
Celebrities and socially prominent personalities should think twice before endorsing a concept that is both morally and ethically unacceptable and segregates, or even ostracises a large section of our ‘honourable’ society. Same goes for all the companies out there manufacturing and marketing ‘’whitening’’ soaps and creams. It is high time that such notions be emasculated, and the concept of beauty redefined. High time indeed.
The apple never falls far from the tree. If today we epitomize fair skin and be completely superficial, then we must brace ourselves to see the future generations following the same path. Like many other dilemmas, this one too, will burgeon, and we will be the proud culprits feeding it instead of gouging it.
The fault, indubitability, lies at our doorstep.
Since childhood, children are taught that telling lies is ‘bad’. Yet, nobody refrains from telling the child to tell a certain Naeem Sahab at the door that ‘’Abu ghar pe nahin hain’’ [Father is not at home], while Mr Father is enjoying a nice cup of steaming, hot tea while watching the latest national drama at our local news channels. We, as individuals and as a nation, do not practice what we preach. We preach righteousness and morality, and pretend to stand on a pedestal that will portray us as paragons of virtue and holiness. Fair words butter no parsnips. Equality is a concept that few amongst us will preach to the younger generations; be it social or gender equality. Money and looks will be prioritized till eternity and this vicious cycle of demeaning our fellow, less ‘fortunate’ beings will continue, until the wise amongst us look beyond and recognize the repercussions of this social and moral pandemic, and realize that turning a blind eye has never been a laudable panacea .
With a growing number of celebrities, Nandita Das , for example, endorsing the concept of being confident and comfortable in their ‘dark’ skin , we must accept the fact that ‘panache’ and ‘dark skin’ can go hand in hand.
Personality is a distinguishing feature. Not fair looks. And personality here parameters a vocal self-confidence, the belief that one has the weapons to combat adversity , manners that will shame the Queen; and an eloquence that will silence the best of critics.
To conceive a healthy society, that flags equality as an ever popular existence, we must suck the life out of such parochial concepts.
“Your life is determined not so much by what life brings to you but as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you but as by the way your mind looks at what happens”- Khalil Jibran.