‘That’s not my daughter,’ Malayalam actor Harisree Ashokan said on the viral 'family photo'

What social medias trolling of a dark-skinned bride photographed with actor Harisree tells us
news Prejudice Monday, October 31, 2016 - 14:58

In a sad reminder of colour prejudice in Indian society, especially Kerala, the photograph of a beaming bride at her wedding grabbed the attention of social media trolls for all the wrong reasons. Why? The bride is dark-skinned while the groom is fair. The venomous and shameful comments made by users show how deeply prejudiced and insensitive people can be. 

Since the couple was photographed with popular Malayalam actor Harisree Ashokan and his wife, it was assumed that the bride was his daughter. A month since the wedding, the picture was circulated on social media, with the caption - “This is actor Harisree Ashokan’s daughter.” Some others thought that she was his daughter-in-law.

The "joke", as many took the pains to point out in a number of discussion threads, was that a dark-skinned woman decked up in gold was ill-matched for a fair-skinned groom. That the couple is clearly getting married with their mutual consent seemed immaterial to the "wise" folks who descended upon the picture with their fangs out. 

Fair is the same as beautiful has been conventional wisdom in India but as a society, we fail to understand that these ideas are entrenched in our colonial history and also have to do with caste and class prejudice. 

Days after the photograph went viral across social media platforms, Harisree Ashokan took to Facebook on Sunday to clear the air.

“It has come to my notice that a photograph has been circulating in the name of my daughter. I would like to inform you that the photograph is fake,” the actor wrote, meaning that the caption was spreading wrong information. 

Along with the status update, Harisree Ashokan also attached a photograph of his family.

According to a close relative of the bride, the wedding took place sometime in August this year. The relative of the family based in Cherthala of Alappuzha district told The News Minute that the family was deeply upset by the controversy and has chosen to stay silent on the matter.  

The News Minute chose not to publish the photograph. But when will we begin to be comfortable in our own skin?

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