Congratulations to Ms. Nina Davuluri! You certainly make us proud.
We have always been winning spelling bee contests, but the winning of Miss America is one sting that Americans won’t forget in a hurry! The unguent for this sting would be the comments of America embracing diversity and ensuring a stage for the minorities. The American dream tends to come into the picture every now and then – all are equal and have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happy-ness! Embracing the minorities is no charitable act, especially when you have a country where the majority population is comprised of minorities!
The backlash on Twitter and social media networks was more comic than caustic. Those who were topographically challenged and having trouble finding their way from the kitchen to their bedrooms were among the forerunners in revealing their ignorance and their anguish (ouch – it stings!). *This doesn’t surprise me though, sometimes talking about India’s geography seems to reveal just 5 states (NECWS) instead of 28 states and 7 UTs (w/o Telengana). Anything below Maharashtra is south and has one race of people – Madrasis and all they do is gorge on Idlis, Sambar and Rasam. Well, Geography has certainly been the bugbear of many a student!
Nina seemed to be a native of all other countries except India and i believe that further tweets would have traced her roots to a Hula-Hula tribe from the Amazon forests! Making her Arab (Rima Fakih won the contest in 2010) proved that the person was just out of his self induced stupor of 3 years and read out the headlines from the newspaper that had induced the stupor in the first place.
Getting emotional about the 9/11 and comparing Nina to a terrorist was certainly uncalled for – when did terror had such a lovely face and a great smile to go with it?! Nina had tough competition and her enchanting dance and her Iam-here-to-have-fun expressions certainly stole the limelight for her. Tattoos, pretty faces and of course, the really fair skin did offer her a fair amount of competition and made her sweat – more shine for the wheatish complexion!
India is a land of make believe and exaggeration and the fairness of skin holds a very sweet spot. Derma-nomics is certainly a big word and 61% of the derma market is for fairness creams (this is despite warning that Mercury in one form or another is an ingredient!). From King Khan to Ms Padukone, we have celebrities endorsing the path to fame and glory! un’fair’ treatment you would say – but that’s how it is! This contempt for darker skin tones has always been there – i remember being teased in school over my wheatish complexion. The ingenuity of the rhymes ‘kala Kaluta, Baingan loota’ – something to do about brinjals and dacoits still brings a smile on my face . When Nandita Das (one of the ‘darker’ heroines who made it big) comes out with a statement, it usually highlights her as a proponent for the poor darker lot! Akin to people lying through their teeth on job resumes, we have scores lying through their skin on advertisements and matrimony profiles. Make-up and make-believe are getting to be two prime behavioural aspects of the Indian society at large.
Thank God that Ms. Nina participated in Miss America and won – Would this have been possible in India is anybody’s guess. Indians’ obsession with the fairness creams and the fair ones’ obsession with tanning and tanning creams – a chocolatey world anyone?