The thought for this post sprung to mind after a free-wheeling chat on India’s rapidly degenerating TV scene, with Arun and Darshan. Arun brought up what I deem to be among the most deplorable ads to have ever been aired on TV – the one of Fair and Lovely wherein it is projected that being dark-coloured is tantamount to being ugly, to the extent that it becomes a source of everyday embarrassment! In a nation/society getting increasingly vocal against racial profiling (look no further than the amply televised assaults on Indian students Down Under), I’d have expected rubbish like this to have met with a fierce furore. Instead, it’s got away utterly unscathed.
In defense of the ad-makers, they can’t be charged with sparking this phenomenon into existence. Color-based discrimination has been around for as long as I can remember. Beauty may be only skin-deep, but the coupling of color with it runs far deeper, inflicting profound social trauma on countless people. What baffles me more is the irony that many of the people who help perpetuate the Indian obsession with fairness are quite magnanimous in their appreciation of foreign black celebrities like Will Smith and Naomi Campbell!