Tilak Rishi's weblog

Musings on writing, expression, world politics, journalism, movies, philosophy, life, humour...

My Photo

Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hum Kaale Hain To Kya Hua....

The color bias is not unique to India as many countries in Asia and the Middle East suffer from the same bias. Creams like Fair & Lovely are doing a rip-roaring business in countries as diverse as Mexico, Malaysia, China, Brazil and Korea. It's as if the whole world has enrolled in a white seminary to chant the virtues of fairness. Color may be just a matter of pigmentation, but cultures everywhere seem to attach a special cachet to whiteness, an almost unconscious belief in its magical power to open doors, to make life better. The measuring rod for a woman's beauty in all these countries is her fair complexion. Medieval Europeans referred to women as “the fair sex”, and then it became the universal reference for women. Virtually all cultures express a marked preference for fair female skin, even those with little or no exposure to European imperialism.

Since the fairness complex is so deeply entrenched in the men's psyche, it is no surprise that it is the rare individual who elects "doesn't matter" when selecting the choice of complexion in a preferred partner. The color bias among men is mostly a sexist issue. There is much greater pressure on women to be fairer, because this is society's and men's notion of beauty. Social and cultural changes need to occur in India and other Asian countries that eliminate the prejudices that are the cause of woman's deprivations. All that can be done is that each community, whether it is African American, African, Middle Eastern, Asian or Indian, work internally on self-love and a self-image that is not based on or defined by fair complexion of the skin.

The new generation has been accepting of people of different colors and races, because we have been more in touch with people outside our own color and race. The fairness fad persists among the older generation. You will never see any youngsters or college graduates using any of that kind of stuff on their face to make it look fairer. Indian youth seem far less prejudiced and started to realize that it's more than just what's on the outside. It's more about the personality than what you see on the outside that defines the person, not your color. Nowadays people value what they have and as a nation, we have the best skin. Attitudes are changing in the Indian American community at least. It's no longer an issue that people focus on much anymore. They have so many different colors and cultures in America that everyone sort of blends in just by being different. They understand better that the vast diversity in our skin colors is just one of the visual aspects of our heritage. And there’s so much wonder woven into our heritage to fret over skin color!

Theoretically everybody agrees that not complexion, but charm is the most desirable quality of beauty. Men must also accept the truth that a healthy, smooth and glowing skin makes a woman stunningly attractive despite her dark skin complexion. A dark skin develops signs of aging rather late and dark women are luckier than the fair ones because dark skin is less prone to pimples, shadows, wrinkles and blotches. In fact, women of darker complexion are the envy of many a white skinned women in the West. The most common reason why a deep, dark tan is wanted by many white women is that the bronzed effect instills a high sense of beauty in the person that has it. So, feel free to bask in the sun and be proud of your glow! Celebrate the diverse collective beauty of dark complexion and define and promote your own beauty standard — one that is an authentic reflection of your indomitable spirit. Remember, some of the most beautiful models, including Naomi Campbell, Lyia Kebede, Sessilee Lopez and Jordan Dunn are black. Some of our own beauty queens of Bollywood, including Kajol, Bipasha Basu, Rani Mukerji and Priyanka Chopra, do not boast of fair complexion but still are counted amongst the top stars of Hindi cinema. Even Lata Mungeshkar, the melody queen, may not be fair complexioned, yet revered in the Indian sub-continent like no other artiste has ever been. In fact, V. Shantaram, the legendary pioneer of Hindi cinema, made the movie Teen Batti Char Raasta, it is believed, based on the life of Lata Mungeshkar. The leading lady in the film is initially rejected in matrimonial alliance because of being dark complexioned, but later sought after when she rose to the top in her fame for her singing. It is not color that makes you beautiful, but your charisma and the way you represent yourself. Still more important than having fair skin, what a beautiful heart you have. Here we are reminded of the heart rendering song of Mohd. Rafi, picturized on the one and only Mehmud in the film Gumnaam - “Hum kaale hain to kya hua dilwale hain...”.


Blogger Ranjan said...

Your comments are perfectly pitched; a resounding yes, yes, and hallelujah of a yes to the thrust of your message. It's one of the more despicable traits of culture, world-over, that we focus on superficialities such as skin color, to the exclusion of what truly matters, e.g. who is the human being behind and under the skin?
Thanks for shining a light on a subject oft ignored!
You encourage, " . . . feel free to bask in the sun and be proud of your glow!" If I may add a caveat of caution: use sunscreen--not for avoiding getting dark, but for preventing melanomas and other nasties :-)

2:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home