IT’S NOT FAIR: Sneha Chandrashekar

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.

Sneha Chandrashekar, a Bangalore based entrepreneur, Black & White Creative Studio & The Chef Post.

Your thoughts on being dusky in a country like India where people are obsessed with fair skin: Dusky is a shade of colour, and so is fair. I believe it takes all kinds to make the world we live in, and co-existence, respect for each other is key for harmony. I wonder when in history, the first fair person thought they’re superior than the darker person; what if it was the other way around? As for living in India, we must all accept the truth and fact on our lineage and ancestry, we are beautifully brown skinned, and no cosmetic can change the gene.

Concept of itsnotfair, what it means to you and how you took being dusky in your stride: I’ve spent my childhood in Botswana, in Southern Africa and I was exposed to dark skinned, fair skinned and the browns at a young age. Having spent my childhood with diverse people, I learnt to respect everyone as they are. Coming back to the country we hail and live in, India; it sometimes shocks me to discern people judging you on the colour of your skin to give you a job or endorse you on a matrimonial ad. All of us should do our bit to spread this social message of #ItsNotFair, that depicts the colour of the skin should not determine a person’s character, or success. It’s a candid and bold initiative to speak the truth and portray to the traditionalists who believe otherwise. I believe something like this would uplift the spirits of the many women who think they aren’t beautiful because the world would have made them believe so. Dark is also beautiful, and so is every colour!