IT’S NOT FAIR: Nandita Iyer

Beauty is more than skin-deep; it is an inner attribute and it is eternal.

TEXT: NAMITA GUPTA

PHOTOGRAPHS: LUCKY MALHOTRA

We live in a country that’s obsessed with fair skin. While millions of people across the world, envy our brown skin and crave for it, we Indians are still basking in the so-called beauty associated with whiteness. It’s bizarre that even in today’s day and age, people are stereotyped based on their skin colour, not only in India, but across Asia and even Africa. #ItsNotFair, a concept close to fashion and lifestyle photographer Lucky Malhotra’s heart, is also something RITZ Magazine stands by with complete conviction.

So, what’s #ItsNotFair all about? “I have seen this discrimination happening around with women specially where they’re made to believe that being fair is of utmost importance. Once when my nine-year-old daughter wanted my permission to attend a birthday party of her classmate and could not recollect who it was by her name, she described her saying the one who is very fair. That line hit me and I asked her if she liked her own complexion? Although she said yes, I kept thinking about this for a while and soon started this campaign with the hashtag #ItsNotFair. Parents and the society are to be blamed as this thought creeps into a child’s mind because of them. If we are all encouraging in teaching our younger generation that taking care of one’s skin is more important than the colour of the complexion, I feel there would probably be no issues and it would help them grow up with confidence. Even the schools should take up this initiative, as I see lot of bullying happening around based on complexion. Even teachers should take this up and not favour students who are fair, giving them prominence in stage performances and breaking their confidence. Also, some North Indians discriminating South Indians is not fair. South Indians are blessed with great skin and they should be proud of it. Judging anyone based on their skin tone is demeaning. Even such matrimonial ads should be banned. Women are not commodities,” shares Lucky Malhotra, award-winning photographer, who has over 15 years of experience shooting for some of the top-notch brands, celebrities, campaigns, designers, hospitality, sports personalities, corporate heads and more.

Nandita Iyer, author of the book The Everyday Healthy Vegetarian, nutrition expert and blogger at Saffrontrail.com

Your thoughts on being dusky in a country like India where people are obsessed with fair skin: Coming from a family where most of us were dusky, I’ve grown up feeling that dusky is normal. Luckily, my friends and family have never made me feel that being dusky was in anyway inferior to being a fair complexioned person. Even in college days, my focus was on being a creative person with my music and writing, there was no time to ponder over my complexion.

Concept of itsnotfair, what it means to you and how you took being dusky in your stride: In the times of fairness creams and their ridiculous advertising campaigns, it’s good to raise awareness that your skin colour is of absolutely no consequence. I used to find it very funny when sales people in departmental stores used to run after me with the latest fairness products in their hands, as though to rescue me from a dark fate. I would simply give them the best eye roll I could manage and walk away. Thankfully, these days, there’s a little more sensitivity and awareness and we dusky people are not treated like we need rescuing by a knight selling fairness creams.