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The fault with us: How we give birth to racism & why it’s wrong to blame Sharad Yadav alone

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By Harshmeet Singh

While the Parliament was busy discussing the critical insurance bill last week, JDU chief Sharad Yadav had this to say – “Your God is dark like Ravi Shankar Prasad, but your matrimonial ads insist on white-skinned brides. The women of the south are dusky but they are as beautiful as their bodies. We don’t see it here. They know (how to) dance.” For reasons only known to him, he further went on to include the case of BBC documentary in his speech and remarked about Leslee Udwin “For her, every door must have opened easily. She must have got permissions easily because she is white,”

As expected, his remarks didn’t go well with a number of people, including men and women, leading to sharp reactions from different quarters inside and outside the Parliament. While many have gone to the extreme of terming his remarks as appalling and racist in nature, it would be worth asking if pointing him out alone is justified in a country that is obsessed with fair skin.

India’s fixation with lighter skin

An ideal matrimonial advertisement template in India begins with ‘Seeking a fair, slim and educated girl’. If the innumerable TV ads of fairness creams on television are to be believed, a girl must become fair to get married, to get a promotion, to be a good speaker on stage and what not! And these ads don’t just stop here. They are quick to point out that it is your skin colour that is the leading cause of your failure in life! Not your talent, not your abilities, not your qualifications, but just your skin colour.

A market research revealed that the size of whitening cream market in India was over $600 million, implying that India’s yearly consumption of skin whitening products was over 250 tonnes! And if you are wondering why the girls fell for it, well, ask the boys too! These numbers also included the skin whitening agents used by the macho boys!

“Please make it a couple of shades brighter” is a common request made by girls before sending / uploading their photos. The fear of going unnoticed and unimpressive if found dusky plays majorly on the minds.

Who is to blame then?

The thriving business of skin whitening creams in India is a classic example to creating a demand out of nowhere and then making a product to satisfy it. From giving our blood to get rid of the ‘gori chamdi’, to becoming obsessed with ‘gori chamdi’, India has come a long way.

But putting the entire blame on girls for falling into this ‘trap’ would be extremely unfair. In India, marriages are a much bigger deal than many other countries. A topic of household discussions and debates, marriage is certainly the most pressurizing thing in the Indian community. So when Sharad Yadav’s daughter defended him by saying that “I feel there is nothing wrong in this. I think this has been wrongly propagated. I would also not have got the right kind of husband had I been dark-skinned,” she wasn’t entirely incorrect. In a country where arrange marriages still contribute a majority of marriages, it is the fairness of the girls that determines their future in most cases.

The colour bias in our society extends much beyond marriages. A number of professions including aviation and films are known to heavily favour light skinned candidates. In 2008, the Maharashtra Government came up with a plan to train 100 tribal girls as air hostesses and ensure that they get placed in well settled airlines. After spending about Rs 1 lakh on each candidate’s training, the Government had to scrap the plan after only 8 out of these 100 girls were recruited by Private Airlines, and that too as the ground staff.

Unless such obsession for fair skin is curbed among businesses and men, the current scenario doesn’t stand a chance of an overhaul.

Fairness creams

An array of frontline Bollywood stars campaigning for these skin whitening products is a clear indication of the huge sums of money these product make from the Indian market. From glorifying fair skin to tagging dark skin as the sole reason behind your failure, these ads go to all limits to depress a perfectly normal girl possessing a perfectly normal skin colour. These ads can easily dent the confidence of youngsters who are trying hard to hone their skills and make it big. Contrarily, what these ads tell them is – “forget about working hard, just make your skin fairer!”

In 2012, Clean and Dry launched an ad campaign claiming that a vaginal wash using their product would ensure fairer private parts and, in turn, bring back the happiness in their life. The tagline of the ad was “Life for women will now be fresher, cleaner and more importantly fairer and more intimate.” The campaign drew sharp reactions from all around the country. Many women termed it as an insult and an attack on their privacy. The director of the ad, Alyque Padamsee defended the ad saying that “It is hard to deny that fairness creams often get social commentators and activists all worked up. Lipstick is used to make your lips redder, fairness cream is used to make you fairer – so what’s the problem?”

The problem lied in projecting that the fault lies with the dark coloured women. Despite protests on this particular ad, the skin whitening products in India continue to sell like hot cakes, with their market expected to grow at close to 20% every year!

Dark is beautiful

The “Dark is Beautiful” campaign launched by ‘Women of Worth’ (WOW), has found support in the form of Nandita Das. Tired of listening to makeup artists who tell her that they would easily lighten her skin shade before she faces the camera, Nandita says “I want people to be comfortable in their own skin and realise that there is more to life than skin colour. Indians are very racist. It’s deeply ingrained. But there is so much pressure by peer groups, magazines, billboards and TV adverts that perpetuate this idea that fair is the ideal,”. WOW also hopes to rope in a number of celebrities behind these ads and convince them on withdrawing themselves so as to send a strong message to the youngsters.

In 2012, Shekhar Kapur, the noted Bollywood director, started a hashtag on twitter ‘adswedontbuy’ to launch a campaign against imprudent ads. These also included the ads made by skin whitening products. The discussion gained much traction and lakhs of people joined in within 24 hours.

There is no denying the fact that colour bias is deeply ingrained with our society. Making Sharad Yadav explain or apologize would hardly solve the issue, but loving yourself the way you are just might!

  • Well thought and smartly written.

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Catalonia Independence : Spanish PM plans to remove Catalonia’s leaders to take control

Many Catalans who want to remain in Spain will approve of this strident action. But those who want independence for their region are likely to see this as a provocation rather than a solution

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The Spanish Prime Minister said one of his aims is to restore peaceful co-existence to Catalonia by removing its leaders. VOA

Madrid, October 22, 2017 : Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has outlined plans to remove Catalonia’s leaders and take control of the separatist region.

Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday, Rajoy stopped short of dissolving the region’s parliament but put forward plans for elections, BBC reported.

The measures must now be approved by Spain’s Senate in the next few days.

Large crowds have gathered in Barcelona to protest against direct rule from Madrid. It comes almost three weeks after Catalonia held a disputed independence referendum.

Spain’s Supreme Court had declared the vote illegal and said it violated the constitution, which describes the country as indivisible.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has ignored pleas from the national government to abandon moves towards independence.

Rajoy said the the Catalan government’s actions were “contrary to the law and seeking confrontation”. He said it was “not our wish, it was not our intention” to impose direct rule.

This will be via Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, which allows it to impose direct rule in a crisis on any of the country’s semi-autonomous regions.

Spanish law dictates that elections must be held within six months of Article 155 being triggered, but Rajoy said it was imperative that the vote be held much sooner.

Reports say that Spain’s interior ministry is preparing take control of Catalonia’s Mossos police force and remove its commander Josep Lluís Trapero, who is already facing sedition charges.

The government is also considering taking control of Catalonia’s public broadcaster TV3, El País newspaper reported.

Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras said Rajoy and his allies had “not just suspended autonomy. They have suspended democracy”.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said it was a “serious attack on the rights and freedoms of all, both here and elsewhere” and called for demonstrations.

The president of Barcelona football club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, said the club gave its “absolute support for the democratic institutions of Catalonia chosen by its people”.

But he called for any reaction to be “civil and peaceful” and said dialogue was the only way to a solution.

Eduard Rivas Mateo, spokesman for the Catalan Socialist party — which supports the Spanish government’s stance but also wants constitutional reform — said he could not accept a “harsh application” of Article 155.

ALSO READ Catalonia Protesters Demand Release of Separatist Leaders

But Ines Arrimadas, head of the centrist Ciudadanos party in Catalonia, which is against independence, said holding fresh elections would “restore goodwill and democracy” in the region.

Rajoy’s use of Article 155 had been widely anticipated, but his announcement when it came still had a huge impact. The article has never been invoked before, so there was a certain amount of mystery surrounding its potential reach and meaning.

Although Rajoy insisted that Catalonia’s self-government is not being suspended, many will disagree. The removal from office of Carles Puigdemont and all the members of his cabinet, to allow ministers in Madrid to take on their duties, amounts to a major reining in of Catalonia’s devolved powers.

The Spanish Prime Minister said one of his aims is to restore peaceful co-existence to Catalonia with these measures.

Many Catalans who want to remain in Spain will approve of this strident action. But those who want independence for their region are likely to see this as a provocation rather than a solution. (IANS)

 

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BBC Expands Indian Operations with Four Additional Regional Languages ; Indian Network now Biggest Outside UK

The Indian operation has now become the biggest outside the UK

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BBC news services are available online and on social media. IANS

New Delhi, October 4, 2017 : In its largest expansion drive since the 1940s, the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) has launched four news services in India in Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Telugu languages.

The new services are available online and on social media, with a Telugu TV bulletin, BBC Prapancham, starting on Wednesday, the news provider said in a statement.

BBC News already broadcasts to 28 million people in India in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Urdu and English.

Director of BBC World Services group, Francesca Unsworth, told reporters on Wednesday that the i.

“Our values will remain the same with the new channels, which is to inform, educate and entertain… We do not want to be restricted to Delhi-centric, capital-based reporting and will bring out the stories of rural India,” she said. (IANS)

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Lalu Yadav is Shamelessly Corrupt and a Fake Secular

The author Gaurav Tyagi asserts that Lalu’s party RJD, should be disbanded and a life ban should be imposed on Lalu plus his kin from pursuing political careers. Read on to know why!

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Does Lalu Yadav portray himself as the ‘messiah’ of Muslims by aligning with fundamentalist Muslim preachers? Wikimedia


– by Gaurav Tyagi


New Delhi, September 5, 2017 : 
26th July witnessed a big political drama in India, when Nitish Kumar, the C.M. of Bihar submitted his resignation.

The government in Bihar was a coalition of three political parties; Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Yadav’s RJD and Congress.

Nitish was back in the C.M’s chair, the very next day due to the support extended to his party, JD (U) by BJP to form the government in Bihar.

The coalition of the aforesaid three parties thereby collapsed, which annoyed Lalu Yadav, the head of RJD a lot.

Lalu Yadav hijacked the plank of secularism to indulge in blatant corruption and promote his family in politics.

Secularism implies the principle of separating government institutions as well as politicians from religion and religious figures. In India the meaning of secularism has entirely been altered by politicians like Lalu, who openly woo Muslim fundamentalists from Mosques and waste government funds in order to appease them.

Lalu keeps on harping upon keeping Muslims safe in Bihar. Maintenance of law and order is the foremost task of any elected government, what’s the big deal in it?

ALSO READ Dynasty syndrome: Lalu chosen as RJD chief for 9th time

Lalu’s politics involves developing vote banks from his caste comprising of Yadavs and Muslims.

He portrays himself as the ‘messiah’ of Muslims by aligning with fundamentalist Muslim preachers and gangsters like Shahbuddin.

Lalu never addresses the root cause of poverty and backwardness among Indian Muslims.
It is largely due to the community shunning of mainstream educational institutes and going to worthless madrasas, (Muslim religious schools) which primarily focus on students, rote learning of the Muslim holy book; Koran.

In the absence of modern knowledge, madrasa graduates are unable to improve their material prosperity and face the challenges of contemporary society.

The Ulemas or the Islamic scholars’ regressive attitude is reflected in the following statement of Maulana Samiul Haq, of the Haqqania madrasa, a prominent Deobandi madrasa; “Young minds are not for thinking. We catch them for the madrasas when they are young, and by the time they are old enough to think, they know what to think.”

Fake seculars like Lalu would never tell Muslims to study in proper schools because an educated Muslim can easily decipher the tricks played by such politicians.
A large number of illiterate or madrasa brand Muslims suit Lalu because then by showing the fear of BJP and Hindus, these Muslims can be easily turned into vote banks for his political party.

CBI, ED and other government agencies recently conducted large number of raids on Lalu and his family. They discovered Billions amassed by this so called ‘champion of oppressed’.

Lalu accumulated large number of farm-houses, land holdings, companies etc. in the name of his family comprising of his illiterate wife and 9 children; 7 daughters and 2 sons.

Both his sons, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, are school drop-outs. The former was the deputy CM of Bihar with various ministerial portfolios, while the latter was the Health Minister of the province in the coalition government.

Lalu Yadav
Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav at a public event. Twitter

Lalu was declared guilty by the courts for his lead role in the Bihar fodder scam worth thousands of Crores. Lalu Yadav was jailed for 135 days in 1997 but he was lodged in a Bihar Military Police guest house with all comforts.

Before his incarceration, Lalu installed his uneducated wife Rabri Devi as the C.M. of Bihar. Lalu was jailed on various other occasions for his involvement in the aforementioned swindle.

Every time, Lalu was put in prison, he received 5 star hotel facilities and got bail easily. Lalu continued being the de facto C.M of Bihar by inducting his wife as the rubber- stamp C.M. of Bihar.

He was finally sentenced to a 5 year jail term in October 2013 by a special CBI court.
Instead of being in a jail, he is again out on bail, busy in enriching and establishing his progeny in politics.

A poster for Lalu Yadav’s political rally in Patna on Sunday, 27th August depicted one of Lalu’s foolish son as Lord Krishna while the other buffoon is shown as Arjun. Lalu’s daughter and Rajya Sabha M.P, Misa Bharti is depicted as the famous freedom fighter, Rani of Jhansi; Lakshmibai. Lalu and his wife Rabri are blessing their children in this poster.

What a mockery of historical and religious characters.

Lalu is saying that he and his family are being victimized. These utterances constitute ‘heights of shamelessness’.

Lalu indulged in blatant corruption and misuse of office for personal gains. On getting exposed he started parroting; this is a conspiracy of BJP and law would take its own course.

These terms in India mean that court cases would drag for 20-30 years. The politician will die but the court proceedings would still remain pending.
Classic example is Jayalalitha, the court cases against her were continuing since, 1996 but the final judgment was passed in 2017 after her death.

Lalu’s son, Tejashwi Prasad, the Ex-Deputy C.M of Bihar was a member of IPL cricket team, Delhi Daredevils for 4 years from 2008-2012.

ALSO READ Lalu’s son Tej Pratap faces his first electoral test in Mahua

During these 4 years, Tejashwi didn’t play a single game for Delhi Daredevils.

Which sporting team in the world would keep such a useless player in its squad?

Delhi Daredevils is owned by GMR group. This business house must be investigated, as to what were the compelling reasons behind continuous retention of this trash cricketer, who wasn’t competent to play even a single game during 4 seasons.

What were the financial benefits given to Tejashwi? Did the GMR group receive concessions from Lalu Yadav in exchange for keeping his son in Delhi Daredevils team? These are serious issues and need further investigations.

Misa Bharti, eldest daughter of Lalu Yadav is a Rajya Sabha M.P. She topped the MBBS examination of Patna Medical College Hospital during the late 90’s.

Misa never excelled in her classes, either at school or college. At her convocation, the presenter of the degree requested her not to treat any patients ever.

Lalu through his clout in Bihar first got her admission into MBBS and then deceptively made her a topper.

Misa Bharti after topping her MBBS studies and obtaining her medical degree did not work as a Doctor even for a single day, neither did she start her own medical practice.

This is humbug Lalu Yadav, the ‘self- styled’ protector of Muslims and ‘self- declared’ skipper of the Indian opposition political parties, comprising of so called secular forces but in reality just corrupt family controlled political dynasties.

Lalu and his political clan should be imprisoned for at least a minimum period of 10 years with provisions of no bail plus hard labor in the jail.

All undeclared properties; including land parcels, bank accounts, commercial businesses, residences etc. unearthed by the authorities during raids on Lalu and his family must be confiscated by the central government.

Lalu’s party RJD, which is nothing more than a corrupt family enterprise should be disbanded and a life ban imposed on Lalu plus his kin from pursuing political careers.

An exemplary example needs to be made of this corrupt, Lalu so, as to deter other existing as well as budding ‘Lalu Prasad Yadavs’, abounding in the Indian political system from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

 

– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.