Features Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 05:30
Alankrita Anand| The News Minute| October 10, 2014|  The obsession with fair skin that this country has is well known, the growing community of those who oppose this idea is also well-known. A Chennai-based women’s group pioneered the Dark is Beautiful movement, and a good number of social media users have expressed concern over instances of colourism and how we are colourists in an inherent fashion. Bollywood has had its range of ‘neeli aankhein, gore gaal’ songs and major cosmetic companies have marketed their skin-lightening creams as ‘fair skin treatment’ creams. Colourism is rampant within the country and the root causes need to be nipped in the bud. That is the conviction with with Brown n’ Proud has started out. Chirayu Jain, a student of National Law School, Bangalore, had a moment of reflection when he picked up a packet of Colorama crayons and realized that the colour ‘skin’ had nothing to do with his skin or the skins of most people around him. This eventually led to him filing a complaint against Hindustan Pencils Ltd. (the company that manufactures the crayons) at the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. According to the timeline provided by Jain, the case appeal proceedings began in January this year, with the most recent hearing having happened in September. The next hearing is scheduled for October 16. The belief that the process by which ideas of race superiority are ingrained need tobe looked at and that the cause needs to be taken beyond the litigation led to the development of ‘Brown n’ Proud’, an initiative that wants to nip colourist attidutes in the bud. Around 14-15 members are involved in the day-to-day activities and 20-25 volunteers work in different colleges in different parts of the country, putting up posters and spreading the message.  The larger aim of Brown n’ Proud is to destroy the fairness creams industry, but they are not seeking a ban on it. Their idea is to destroy the belief that fairer skin is superior to darker skin so that the demand for these products falls to an extent where it is no longer viable to produce them. A ban, they believe, will not really help in changing attitudes. So, suing Hindustan Pencils over their ‘skin’colour crayon was on step in the direction.  The team behind Brown n’ Proud does not intend to let the matter rest once the Hindustan Pencils case is closed. Neither to have they intended to rest once they have done enough about colourist attitudes. One issue that they might take up in the future is menstruation- the taboos related to it. Their belief in the fact that one needs to be comfortable being their natural selves is what guides them in their quest for a society free of prejudices.