Two important issues Aamir Khan must feature in his show Satyamev Jayate are (1) racism and (2) casteism. I believe these issues are very underrated by our people despite the fact that they are deeply entrenched in the Indian psyche — so much so that many victims don’t recognize the atrocity when they are being subjected to it.
What’s worse is that even supposedly “good” people become active perpetrators of this crime (albeit unwittingly) when exclusively searching for a fair-skinned boy or a girl for marriage. Or for a person only from their own caste. Are dark-skinned people not beautiful or handsome anymore? Or are people from a different caste dishonest and evil? The point is India is fractured, fragmented, and fallen into pieces through casteism and racism practiced by its own people.
At the outset, please note that the evil of birth-based caste-system has crept into our system only since a few thousand years. And one could be forgiven for falsely believing that Hinduism engendered it.
The fact is when the task of translation from Sanskrit to English is assigned to an ignorant, impure Western indologist or the authority to read them is seized by the power-hungry brahmins, the result is complete manipulation and misinterpretation of one of the world’s greatest wisdom books, Vedas.
I call them wisdom books and not scriptures because they are essentially guide books containing topics such as science, martial arts, ethics, maths, metaphysics and much more. Unlike most of the world’s scriptures, you are given complete freedom to reject them without being threatened with eternal hell. These books promote social hierarchy based on merits, rather than on birth as claimed by many brahmins today. But that’s a whole different topic. For those interested in digging deeper into it, I highly suggest reading Agniveer’s exposition here.
Talking about racism, the societal pressure to look fair is so high in India that it has created a thriving culture of fairness creams — not just for face but also for private parts (Watch this ridiculous commercial). The result is young Indian men and women with totally destroyed self-esteem and dignity.
Compare this to Western nations, for instance in America, where dark-skinned people are perfectly comfortable in their own skin. African Americans don’t wish to be white. They don’t believe fair-skinned actors are necessarily better-looking. On a comical note, imagine Will Smith using fairness creams to become fairer so he gets a raise on his self-esteem! The point is we have become mental slaves, minions of colonialism owing to being subjected to centuries of bondage. And the onus is on us to undo this influence through actively rejecting every negative thought that comes to our mind. “No one saves us but ourselves!” noted Vivekananda.
If people think you are less attractive than your peers only because you are darker, they are being racist and it’s their problem. Such social parasites exist in every society and only need to be ignored!
Having said that, please note that I’m a strong proponent of contemporary fashion. I admire people who (a) want to look good, and (b) consciously act on improving their appearance. I don’t quite admire people who shy away from even making an effort to appear decent. Looks (which are a CRUCIAL factor in our overall personality) are very important — just not at the cost of our self-esteem.
By all means, please wear nice clothes, jewelry and cosmetics. But know where to draw a clear line between fashion that expresses your self-confidence versus that which reflects the lack of it. Don’t believe the ridiculous notion that darker skin will make you look unattractive. If you try to become someone else through changing your essential being, you will only end up living life in continued embarrassment and guilt.