Oh. My. God.


by Sunny
21st July, 2006 at 1:21 am    

Rimi Sen who plays Nirali confesses that she also felt that she was a boy in the company of Ajay, Tusshar, Sharman and Arshad. “I play a sweet and beautiful girl in the film. The best thing that I like about the film is that though it has four heroes, I am the only heroine. Rohit Shetty is amazing as a director. He can make even a black African look pretty“. [Yahoo India, via POP]

She. Did. Not. Just. Say. That. I’m in shock. This is a feed from this article.

It is common knowledge that Bollywood and Indians in general are obsessed about fair skin, but this sort of racism takes the biscuit. It’s more surprising that Glamsham printed the quote and Yahoo India carried it. Their policy is clear about not carrying racist material In case Yahoo take the article down, I have a screenshot.

My suggestion: Write about this story and / or contact Yahoo through this form or email them and express at your disgust at Yahoo carrying the story and demand they pull Glamsham off their feed. We need to force Glamsham to apologise and make it clear racism will not be tolerated. Only a few news outlets have carried so far.


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  1. Gauravonomics » OOPS!

    [...] After Pickled Politics wrote about the interview here, Glamsham changed the quote to: [...]


  2. DesiPundit » Archives » Racist Bollywood

    [...] Sunny at Pickled Politics makes a great find when he catches a particularly racist statement by Rimi Sen. The quote was carried verbatim by Glamsham and Yahoo India. [...]


  3. Pickled Politics » More silliness

    [...] More silliness by Sunny on 17th August, 2006 at 2:31 am     While we’re on the subject of stupid comments and internet campaigns…. remember our Bollywood friend Rimi Sen, who said “…he can even make a Black African look pretty“? Well, quite a few blogs picked it up. I also wrote it for AIM, and guess where that ended up. When we called Rimi for her take on the controversy, the actress naturally feigned ignorance. She says, “I have been misquoted. I can’t speak to you as I am shooting.” As for remembering what she had actually said, the actress says, “I don’t remember any such statement.” [...]




  1. Clairwil — on 21st July, 2006 at 2:44 am  

    Jesus!
    I had to read that about thirty times just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.

  2. Nav — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:32 am  

    What?!

  3. Rohin — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:42 am  

    Heh, this fits in rather well with my post – great minds what what what.

    Shocking statement and what is more shocking is that no one seems to have called her up on it. It seems this Golmaal film (despite being named after Sid’s blog) is one to avoid. A racist actress and dancing like this.

  4. Rohin — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:52 am  

    Correction, I’ve deleted my post as WordPress ate half of it and I already had to re-type it once AND it’s almost 4am. Bollocks to that. Fuck fuck fuck.

  5. Desi Italiana — on 21st July, 2006 at 4:01 am  

    “He can make even a black African look pretty“.”

    People like this have a warped sense of what “beautiful” is. I myself am a pleasant,coffee colored hue that is like cappucino in the winter and espresso in the summer. And I am fine as hell.

    Speaking about the bias in favor of fair skinned actresses in Bollywood films, I’ve always noticed that the back up female dancers are darker than the female lead. And some are more beautiful than the “fair n lovely” female lead. I can’t remember which movie it was– something like “Ishq Mohabat” and a string of other words denoting “love”– the fair skinned heroine’s best friend was darker but much more attractive than the heroine who was very unattractive.

  6. indianoguy — on 21st July, 2006 at 7:27 am  

    Preposterous

  7. Katy Newton — on 21st July, 2006 at 8:19 am  

    What can you say? It’s unbelievable.

    “I play a sweet and beautiful girl”, indeed. It must be an Oscar-winning performance. Racism aside, the woman clearly has an ego the size of Belgium and the IQ of a cashew nut.

  8. Sid — on 21st July, 2006 at 8:22 am  

    If only she was Fair and Lovely on the inside as well…

  9. Ravi Naik — on 21st July, 2006 at 8:55 am  

    This is the reason why I don’t like Bollywood films. The actors and actresses come out as shallow as the movie’s plot line with silly dances and fake singing. Since so little is required from actors except their appearance, I don’t expect their comments to be … well, inspiring.

    I am not sure what she finds repulsive by Africans. If it is their skin colour, why would she mention them considering her Indian counterparts are also dark-skinned?

  10. Neil — on 21st July, 2006 at 9:40 am  

    This really isen’t that shocking, it more due to ignorance rather then intentional racism of any sort.

    Indian culture, for good or bad, places great emphasis on ‘fairness’ of skin tone. just look at any matrimonial adverts, either here or in India. You hear young children being told how ‘rupari’ (fair in Gujarati) he or she is at family gatherings and functions all the time.

  11. Rakhee — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:11 am  

    Surely she can’t be that ignorant. What a stupid, stupid thing to say.

    Has made me think, isn’t in odd how people in the East (Asia) think fair is beautiful, and people in the West fry themselves to pieces to look tanned. In China you get whitening lotion. Here you get tanning cream.

    People always want the opposite.

    I myself am quite fair but tan easily and LOVE it – it makes me *glow* and feel much healthier.

    Hurray for the sunshine.

    (I apologise now Ed – I have that Friday feeling and will do my best to wait for Katy’s weekend thread..:))

  12. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:18 am  

    Moral of the story: Indians are one of the world most racist people. I mean it is perfectly acceptable in Indian English to refer to Africans as “Negros”.

  13. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:23 am  

    For example i’m visiting an Adivasi ashram here (south of Bombay) with a few RSS KoBras (those blue eyed pale skinned Konkan Brahmins i was talking about the other day) guys in a Katkari tribal village called “Devpada” . These people will call these Autraloid tribals as “Hindu brothers” but i daresay they wont let their daughters marry these guys!

  14. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:25 am  

    In China you get whitening lotion. Here you get tanning cream.

    C’mon Rakhee why blame the Chinese. Now be frank whid me… have you ever heard of “Fair and Lovely” on your visits to India?

  15. Rakhee — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:27 am  

    Ha ha Vikrant! Was using China as an example but yes, I have, along with flipping Dabur Amla Kash Thel and Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream. God I can still that song in my head…

  16. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:34 am  

    Vicco Turmeric
    Nahi cosmetic Nahi (somethingy)
    Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream

    lol afterall these years i still remember that one geez!

  17. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:37 am  

    One thing i’ve noticed on this visit to India is that girls in “Fair and Lovely” ads aim to become pilots rather than cliched airhostess line… surely thats an improvement!

  18. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:38 am  

    Heh heh, practically the entire sub-continent thinks pretty much that so its not very surprising no-one is very shocked over there. it may as well be open how racist it all is instead of hidden. perhaps then it can be tackled accordingly.

    vikrant’s right and got a good point about the fair and lovely. it’s not even so much the ‘racism’ element ( i.e. about separate races) that’s the only problem – its this fixation on dark skin is bad and fair skin is good ( even within the context of any specific ethnolinguistic group) so if you’re a dark=skinned bengali girl, or a gujarati girl, there’s just so much nonsense you have to deal with -throughout your life – but especially leading up to ‘marriage’. it’s outrageous. of course the problem is with ‘racism’ as it’s understood is no-one makes a fuss if it’s ‘within’ a race- though clearly it doesn’t make any difference – its still incredibly prejudiced.

    has anyone been reading the Sepia Mutiny thread on black men/dating asian women? an eyeopener indeed re: obviously still prevalent prejudices.

  19. Leon — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:39 am  

    Correction, I’ve deleted my post as WordPress ate half of it and I already had to re-type it once AND it’s almost 4am. Bollocks to that. Fuck fuck fuck.

    Was it titled Lighten Up? My feed reader has part of it cached (caused some confusion when I tried to read it and it said it wasn’t there!)…

  20. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:40 am  

    has anyone been reading the Sepia Mutiny thread on black men/dating asian women?

    Those sluts!!!

    Orthodox Asian Vikrant

  21. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:42 am  

    Moreover sonia, fairskin means a lot if you are girl in South Asia. I dont think its an issue with boys that much unless ofcourse they are in modelling or cinema.

  22. Leon — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:42 am  

    Sonia, what’s the link for the Sepia Mutiny entry?

  23. Kulvinder — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:44 am  

    Its an incredibly stupid thing to say but its worth remembering there isn’t a cosmopolitan culture in India as there is in the UK. You can’t map offensive words from one culture to the next, the word ‘negro’ doesn’t necesarrily have the same context in india as it does elsewhere. Everyone from North America pretty much stares at me if i ever use the word oriental, an American using the word ‘pakis’ as a shortened version of Pakistanis can’t automatically be said to making a racist comment.

    Implication and context are more important than the word itself.

  24. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:50 am  

    Rakhee – agreed re: your observation :-) a good point.

    what’s interesting is to note the changing aesthetic ideals for instance, 18th century britain had similar ideas to what indians do now about female beauty – ‘peaches and cream complexion, sun-bonnets to protect from the sun – if you got freckles it was a sign you’d been in the sun and been un-ladylike etc. etc.’

  25. Rohin — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:53 am  

    Leon that’s the one. I’m re-doing it now. I have the same bit cached that you do, so I’ll just do the rest. Very strange deletion. Anyway, give me a bit and you’ll have more Fair & Lovely than you can shake a stick at.

  26. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:55 am  

    http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/003575.html

    its interesting – the discussion was about whether there is an ‘increase’ in black men/asian women dating combination. the responses – i find- were interestingly revealing. some ppl did point out that given the racial stereotypes and family attitudes it wasn’t suprising that there weren’t so many such combinations, but surely if prejudices were changing, then probably there might be an ‘increase’. also that any discussion around this topic would definitely have to acknowledge racial prejudices and stereotypes in asian families.

  27. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 10:58 am  

    Rohin werent you thinking of writing an article on F&L back in december?

  28. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:02 am  

    of course, there were the usual -oh well if you’re not dating an asian guy you must be ‘rebellious’ – type attitudes expressed. i find this particularly interesting given how over here we’ve been talking about parents trying to influence their kids’ choices about who they can date etc, and that sort of thing is a reflection of the peer pressure that goes along with keeping these parental/societal attitudes in place.

  29. Neil — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:06 am  

    Its true what someone said, that India isen’t a cosmopolitan mixed society like here so using certain words should be taken in context and not necessarily be seen as racist.

    When chatting to my old man about buying properties in Elephant and Castle, he said they should ‘ship all the karias and Albanians there off to Scotland’….i creased up laughing !

  30. Rohin — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:07 am  

    Vikrant, yeah it’s been a long time coming but I’ve got a little time now so I figured I’d do a magnum opus on skin lightening.

  31. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:11 am  

    to be fair there’s not much point everyone thinking this is one horrible person or egotistical person. she’s learned that behaviour from everybody else around her and cultural norms.

    every time i go to bangladesh they say ah you get darker ( kalo is the word in bengali – and it means black – there you go) every time i see you. when i was single it was all oh you’ll never find any mother who’ll want to marry their son to yo – with your skin tone ( heeh he just as well i always said!) And what has always irritated me the most has been how openly such physical ‘criticisms’ are made. i’m perfectly happy with my skin colour but no thanks to these women – they did their best to make sure i’m not! one of my cousins who is absolutely gorgeous has spent her whole life listening to her mother complain how dark she is and why couldn’t she be ‘fairer’ like x y or z. really its incredibly annoying.

  32. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:13 am  

    Yeah vikrant – you’re right about the male female differentiation thingie – if you’re a woman you’ve had it, whereas for a man, there are other ‘redeeming’ features. the feminist in me feels very annoyed about that!

  33. contrarymary — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    ha ha – I too remember Vico Tumeric Ayurvedic cream, there used to be ad breaks in bollywood films with the beautiful bride being covered in the stuff. Crazy. Cover yourself in tumeric/haldi, the bastard spice/colour that never comes out of your clothes if you drop indian food on yourself.. and you want to put it on your skin??

    what this actress has said is oh so wrong but also laughably naive. and I’m inclined to agree with Kulvinder.

    how about this though – the inherent racism towards black people and also Chinese people in India (there are some very dodgy descriptive terms floating around in India that would be considered racist here… like chinky) is a legacy of empire and the raj. You know Victorian eugenic theory… black people are inferior, all that shite.

    india just isn’t that familiar with black people – black students in Mumbai are the victims of racism, shopkeepers believing they will steal goods and other such lame stereotypes – and refers to them in almost 19th century terms

    there’s a good chance that such attitudes and terms would still exist in the UK if it wasn’t for immigration

  34. Sid — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:18 am  

    Kulvinder
    You’re absolutely right. But there are some universal preferences that all cultures gravitate to. All cultures seem to value light skin and that seems to be part of the human condition which goes back to primordial times.

    For example, from the Song of Solomon from the Old Testament:
    “I am black but I am beautiful”.

    What intrigued me was why there had to be a “but” in that line.

  35. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:19 am  

    phooey sid – a ‘beautiful’ tan would therefore not exist..

    “But there are some universal preferences that all cultures gravitate to. All cultures seem to value light skin and that seems to be part of the human condition which goes back to primordial times.”

  36. Leon — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:20 am  

    Cheers Sonia for the link and Rohin, looking forward to it. This whole thing is very interesting (also interesting that this week there seems to be a real narrative tying all these conversations together) to me for obvious reasons (I’m mixed race for those that don’t know!). Feel like another opinion piece is coming…

  37. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    interestingly enough Sid, that’s what i’ve heard time and time again in the subcontinent to excuse this kind of prejudice. ‘oh its a universal aesthetic – we’re only being open about what’s universal’.

    at least this post is registering how shocking it comes across as when written down bluntly and is accessible by the rest of the world.

  38. Ravi Naik — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    “Moral of the story: Indians are one of the world most racist people. I mean it is perfectly acceptable in Indian English to refer to Africans as “Negros”.”

    Well, I disagree with you.

    The West is more sensible to this issue because of all injustices committed to Blacks not long ago. But India does not have an apartheid system, where for instance ‘dark-skinned applicants need not apply’ for jobs, or separate toilets, etc.

    Furthermore, the light-skinned attribute of beauty applies mostly to women. This akin to small feet in China a few centuries back (do a google search to see what the chinese had to go through). Or big breasts and model figures in the West. Men do not have to look like models to get approval – just cash. :)

    And I was unaware that ‘negro’ was a slur. You probably meant ‘nigger’. But do Indians use that word?

    So there. Indians are not racists. But Rimi Sen’s remarks surely are. There is a turn-off for you.

  39. Rohin — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:30 am  

    Ravi, Indians ARE monumentally racist. Considering fair skin more beautiful than dark is racism and nothing more. The film and modelling industry continually ignores girls they feel are too dark. Even we as Indians forget that there are people in our own country of all hues, as the darker ones are not given any airtime.

    The use of certain words doesn’t mean racism to me, different words mean different things across the world (in South Africa mixed race people refer to themselves as coloured and so does everyone else, it’s perfectly acceptable). But India IS racist.

  40. Sid — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:33 am  

    Sonia

    It is a universal aesthetic. And they have been quite visceral in their propagation of that aesthetic.

    What is curious is that South Asians religions have been pretty good at bucking that aesthetic. So Krishna’s quality of black-ness is an attribute of His beauty. And the millions of religious songs, poems that have celebrated that. That doesn’t carry through in the day practices or prefernces of people though.

    I’ve yet to hear any bhajans celebrating God’s “wheatish” complexion. ;-)

  41. Vladimir — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:57 am  

    Just wanted to point out that racism in India goes deeper than mere prettiness. What has she been smoking anyone seen Janet Jackson recently… the list could go on. Some Universities in India, these are the well established ones with a good reputation, do not admit Africans in, a uncle of mine told me that first(a very distant relative of course) and he took pride in such a statement filthy fuck’in scum!

  42. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 11:58 am  

    Sid – you’re right in as much as that aesthetic has been spread across the universe. However there are certainly other aesthetic values in place. i think i was disagreeing with the bit you say about it going back to ‘primordial’ times. well maybe the case – but since we don’t actually know anything much about primordial times..:-)

  43. Refresh — on 21st July, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    Excellent piece Rohin. More of the same please.

    Contrarymary is absolutely correct (#33) – and it was touched on in the discussion about imperialism (British Raj thread I think).

  44. Refresh — on 21st July, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    Sorry, meant to say your Lighten Up is an excellent piece.

  45. Sid — on 21st July, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    I guess by primordial I meant earliest recotrded Indian history. When the Aryans invaded India I’m sure they made the Dravidians feel inferior about their dark features and this could be the root the Southasian tendency to associate light skin with beauty.

    I dunno, I’ve always had a thing about West Indian girls myself. ;-)

  46. raz — on 21st July, 2006 at 12:38 pm  
  47. Rohin — on 21st July, 2006 at 12:48 pm  

    The Aryans didn’t invade India Sid, most now believe they simply migrated.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_invasion_theory
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_migration

    These are fascinating reads – especially the first one. I was considering putting all this sort of stuff (the racialisation of the theories) in my lighten up post, but it was already pretty long. Very interesting.

    I’ve always had a thing about East Indian girls myself ;)

  48. Sunny — on 21st July, 2006 at 2:06 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    putting context does not detract from the fact that she obviously thinks that Black Africans are ugly most of the time. That is just downright disgusting racism.

  49. KalluKowa — on 21st July, 2006 at 2:44 pm  

    Rohin: The film and modelling industry continually ignores girls they feel are too dark.
    * Not True. Rani Mukharjee still rules Bollywood. She is as dark as most Indian are. Though they try to make her look fairer.
    Ravi:Furthermore, the light-skinned attribute of beauty applies mostly to women.
    * Not True. I been told by my relatives that i havent turned fairer even after living years in US. My friends never minded calling me Kowa(Crow) either.

  50. KalluKowa — on 21st July, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

    Oh BTW Rohin there are several top model in India who are dark. There is one Raut girl then there is a XXX Manuel girl. Bipasha too is DARK.

  51. mirax — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:13 pm  

    >>But India does not have an apartheid system, where for instance ‘dark-skinned applicants need not apply’ for jobs, or separate toilets, etc.

    ROFLMAO! No apartheid system in India? You’re kidding surely. India’s had the world’s longest and most rigid apartheidsystem in place : Caste also known as VARNA also known as COLOUR.

    I am surprised that that anyone who knows India or Indians is actually shocked at the actress’s remark: she is simply reflecting a very pervasive value of her society.

  52. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:16 pm  

    heh hee good one mirax

  53. mirax — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

    >>Contrarymary is absolutely correct (#33) – and it was touched on in the discussion about imperialism (British Raj thread I think).

    Nonsense. As if the hindu ancients or the muslim invaders ever valued darker skins and it was just the evil whites who subverted them. Grow up and stop looking for scapegoats on whom to pin our own shortcomings. Maybe then we will deal with them faster.

  54. mirax — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    Rani Mukherjee or Bipasha considered ‘dark’ is already a laughable concept. They are only thus in relation to the unnatural fairness of the bollywood ‘beauties’(what percentage of the population looks like that hmm?).Not at all when compared to average skin tones across the subcontinent.

  55. mirax — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:28 pm  

    Krishna, Shiva, Kali all being dark-complexioned may be due to their origins as non-vedic dieties. They most probably are of either aboriginal or dravidian orgin.

  56. sonia — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:38 pm  

    well said mirax re: the ‘darkness’ of rani and bipasha..

  57. Sid — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:39 pm  

    Krishna, Shiva, Kali all being dark-complexioned may be due to their origins as non-vedic dieties. They most probably are of either aboriginal or dravidian orgin.

    Or simply Indianised for mass-acceptance.

    In the same way images/icons/statues of Jesus Christ were Europeanised for whitey.

  58. mirax — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:47 pm  

    The ‘primordial’ preference for fair skin alluded to up thread is over stating the case imo. In evolutionary psychology, a female’s attractiveness as a potential mate depends on a number of factors, one of which is skin colour as clearer, fairer (not fair, these little subleties do matter) skins indicate youth and health. End of matter.

  59. mirax — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

    >>Or simply Indianised for mass-acceptance.

    don’t think so. Literary/historical records indicate otherwise.

  60. Rohin — on 21st July, 2006 at 3:51 pm  

    What mirax said. I said the same in the other thread. Kallu, you’ve trotted out the same names – Bipasha and Rani are NOT dark when compared to India as a whole.

    You also mention Ujjwala Raut (nowhere near dark) and Nina Manuel (same again).

  61. Refresh — on 21st July, 2006 at 4:51 pm  

    Mirax, plenty of material to support what I said. Not to deny what may have been the case with colonial attitudes before that.

    We presumably know more about what has gone in the last 400 years than the 400 before.

  62. Refresh — on 21st July, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

    For more of that type of discrimination look at Latin America. Its lighter skinned people who seem to be the well to do in those societies too.

    Same in ex-plantation colonies. West Indies as an example.

    Finest one of all was of course the racial categorisation under the apartheid system in South Africa.

    However that said – the shortcomings are many and need to be dealt with swiftly. Throwing off the caste system is obviously going to take a long time.

  63. Kulvinder — on 21st July, 2006 at 5:03 pm  

    Kulvinder
    You’re absolutely right. But there are some universal preferences that all cultures gravitate to. All cultures seem to value light skin and that seems to be part of the human condition which goes back to primordial times.

    I disagree, the nature or definition of beauty is largely dependant on who can afford the beauty products or vision you’re selling. If Africa was wealthier and hollywood/cosmetic companies started earning serious revenue there they’d start using more black models in their various media and in turn ‘cultural attitudes’ would deem black to be beautiful.

    Besides using generic quotes no matter how old doesn’t really tell you anything, apparently women the world over prefer tall dark handsome men.

    But really they just like rich men :(

    Kulvinder,

    putting context does not detract from the fact that she obviously thinks that Black Africans are ugly most of the time. That is just downright disgusting racism.

    Sorry for the confusion, i wasn’t condoning what she said it was a tangential point about the use of negro etc. Apart from being racist her comments don’t really make sense in a ‘i need a director who makes ‘ugly’ africans look good’ kind of way. Is it a subtle hint that first thing in the morning shes an absolute dog?

  64. Ravi Naik — on 21st July, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

    “ROFLMAO! No apartheid system in India? You’re kidding surely. India’s had the world’s longest and most rigid apartheidsystem in place : Caste also known as VARNA also known as COLOUR.”

    I said India does not HAVE an apartheid system. An apartheid system would mean that different institutions (schools, hospitals, etc) would be have to be built for each caste. And India would not have an “untouchable” president.

    And caste is not attributed to the colour of your skin. It spans from North to South of India. As for Varna, I suggest that you read this.

  65. Ravi Naik — on 21st July, 2006 at 6:09 pm  

    The worst part is that we perpetuate the myths of the West. In 19th century, British and German scholars decided to write about India’s origin and society. It was very convenient to write about how the aryans invaded India and developed the hindu civilisation. It served as an excuse for colonising India because they saw themselves as the new aryans that would bring back civilization to the aborigenes… again.

    Forget of course that dravidians had already a very impressive civilization, or that the vedic literature has NO mention of anything beyond the borders of India.
    And more interestingly, there are gods – such as Mitra – that originated in India, went to Persia and moved to Europe. So which way was the migration again?

    And then comes the varna system, where each caste is represented by a colour. That represents different energy colours, not the colour of your skin. Unless of course, we have red, yellow and blue Indians.


    Brahmins (white-symbolizing Sattva)
    Kshatriyas (red-symbolizing Rajas)
    Vaishyas (yellow-symbolizing Rajas/Tamas)
    Shudras (blue or black-symbolizing Tamas)

  66. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2006 at 6:23 pm  

    And caste is not attributed to the colour of your skin. It spans from North to South of India. As for Varna, I suggest that you read this.

    Yea mirax. I’ve seen dark skinned Brahmins and fair skinned Chamars who are supposedly “low caste”. Caste was arbitrary at the best which is evident from the wide range of facial features and skin tones exhibited by members of a certain caste. Technically no Indian ca be called a pure Aryan or a pure Dravidian. We are in essense a blend of the two “races” with lil’ bit of Sycthian,Parthian,Hun,Mongol and Perso-Arabic ancestry thrown in.

  67. vi2006 — on 22nd July, 2006 at 12:48 am  

    blacker the berry, sweeter the juice mofo!

  68. Desi Italiana — on 22nd July, 2006 at 1:10 am  

    “blacker the berry, sweeter the juice mofo!”

    LOL.

    Once you go black, you never go back, biatch.

  69. Bea — on 23rd July, 2006 at 12:55 am  

    They have changed the quote after people bombarded the editors inbox with disgusted e-mails! But that doesn’t change the fact that she said it!

  70. Raj — on 24th July, 2006 at 4:58 am  

    As shocking as this is, its not the first time. At the time of the release of “Kyon Ki” last year, I saw one of her interviews on TV. The host complimented her on her beauty and in reply she said that she’s not very beautiful. In fact, without makeup she looks like a NEPALI :O

    So I guess she’s not really racist, she’s just dumb :D

  71. sonia — on 24th July, 2006 at 11:05 am  

    good point Vikrant

  72. Kima — on 24th July, 2006 at 3:14 pm  

    Raj, if what you say is true, then I am truly shocked. One of the main reasons why I started blogging was because people who blog are people of thoughts and words. They are much more matured and sensitive about using racial slur in their vocabulary than the vast majority. I get a lot of chinky calls in the real world but in the blogging world, it never happens. Thats why sometimes it pains me to read any racist remark of any kind on the net, be it Africans or Nepalis. And believe me, this is not the first time I’ve come across racist remarks by a film personality/ pop icon in India.

  73. mirax — on 24th July, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

    >>I get a lot of chinky calls in the real world

    The real world being India.

    I backpacked around Northern India for 6 months with a chinese male friend and it was grossly offensive to encounter a lots of middle class and presumably educated Indians, chanting “chinkk chinky chonk” in his presence while slitting up their eyelids. I kid you not.

  74. Vikrant — on 24th July, 2006 at 5:32 pm  

    @mirax, Kima: Well an Indian will be racist of not just foreign looking people but other Indians as well. Marathis will be called “Ghatis”, Punjabis & Haryanvis will be butt of “Sadarji/Jat” jokes, Bongs will be universally called names cos of their accent. South Indians will be called “Illas” and their languages made fun of. Only Hindis and Gujjus escape being mocked!

  75. Ravi Naik — on 24th July, 2006 at 6:02 pm  

    “One of the main reasons why I started blogging was because people who blog are people of thoughts and words. They are much more matured and sensitive about using racial slur in their vocabulary than the vast majority”

    Except for Sunny, most bloggers are mere mortals and hence, blogs provide a fair reflection of society. So you will find a lot of racist blogs out there.

    Nice blog you have, Kima. But are you actually wearing a nazi helmet in one of your pics?

  76. gsp — on 24th July, 2006 at 7:47 pm  

    whattttttt….”He can make even a black African look pretty”….uh huh ????she well in that case can he even put some brains in to her already barren head ….bimbo !!

  77. Swapna — on 24th July, 2006 at 8:26 pm  

    Stupid thing to say but she probably didn’t think before she made it.

    Very stupid statement.

  78. suji — on 24th July, 2006 at 10:02 pm  

    I am not at all surprised by her statement. Come on… You are fooling yourselves if you believe that “many” Indians are not racist or castist in their hearts :)

    NOTE: “many” is in quotes. I feel tempted to make it “most”…

    That said, Rimi is a fool to say it out in the media.

  79. Kismet Hardy — on 24th July, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    “Stupid thing to say but she probably didn’t think before she made it”

    Well that’s alright isn’t it?

    I’m gonna call my boss now and tell him something

  80. Kismet Hardy — on 24th July, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    I told him he was a donkey fucker

  81. Kismet Hardy — on 24th July, 2006 at 10:48 pm  

    I didn’t think I’d say that because I decided to say something without thinking about it and now I’m unemployed

  82. Kismet Hardy — on 24th July, 2006 at 10:49 pm  

    I’m jobless now, thanks

    Sign on you crazy diamond

  83. Sunny — on 25th July, 2006 at 2:39 am  

    I agree that she probably said it without thinking, which makes it worse.

    I was told by a friend that in a recent press conference in London for the film Kkrish – Hrithik Roshan said something along the lines of: “I know I stayed in Hong Kong too long (he was there for martial arts practice) when my eyes started becoming chinky.”

    Are these people really that stupid? Probably.

  84. Kima — on 25th July, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

    @ Ravi: Nice blog you have, Kima. But are you actually wearing a nazi helmet in one of your pics?

    LoLx! My fren wud kill u if he hear u say that. Thats his much cherished imported Ducati helmet Im wearing. He doesnt even wear it most of the time. Its more like a showcase. lol.

    Coming back to the topic here, I think the C word has more or less become like the N word now. Its perfectly normal n ok for close frens to call you by that name, but insulting when people you dont know use that word at you. I guess the same goes to any other racial slur in India. As long as the person who called you a ding or a jat or a pandi etc is your close fren, everything’s ok. I still remember me and my frens getting into a fight at a pub coz he called one of our frens who was a tamilian a pandi. Even tho we call him pandi, our blood immediately boiled when someone we have never known before use that same racial slur on our fren. Similarly my frens wud pounce on anyone who calls me a chinky, even tho they themselves call me by that.

    But then, I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but that is how it is in our gang.

    I guess the bottomline is, more than the word alone, it depends on what context that word is used. Like who said it? is it used to call you lovingly or just to generalize you?

    Frankly speaking, I find nothing wrong in what Hritik said above. But thats just my opinion. Hritik may have just used that word to say he look oriental. This is not as bad as what happened during the VIVA days. I dont exactly remember which member of VIVA, i think it was the short haired one (Pratichee?). Infront of the TV she looked at one of her studio snap and exclaimed in disgust “Eeeeeks I look like a chinky!”. Now compare what she said to what Hritik said. Big difference.

    Sorry for the long comment guys.

  85. Antonyo — on 29th July, 2006 at 12:51 am  

    Ok I’m Black I live in the U.S ok who the hell is rimi sen I’ll answer that nobody. I dont know if she but black people are some of the finest people that have ever walked the planet aint nothing wrong with being dark that goes for all people with color can yall say Trya banks, Beyonce, Tupac, Usher, Hale Berry I mean come on now. Black is BEAUTIFUL and always will be we were the first people on earth and will be the last I just feel its disrespectful that people of color like Indians disrepect us we repersent all people of color we made it ok to be dark when white people said black was ugly we said Hell NO Black is Beauiful and she aint that fine anyway

  86. mirax — on 29th July, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    Antonyo, you’ll find that every commentator here , including Sunny who drew our attention to this, is as appalled as you and agrees with you.

  87. rakesh — on 29th July, 2006 at 7:39 pm  

    It is a preference. Why people are so concerned about her opinion? Of course black people aren’t beautiful.All these people whining about racism – would you have a relationship with a dark skinned women? NO.

    Then why the double standard? Dark skinned people are aware of their limitations.

    And Antonio learn to write in english.

  88. mirax — on 30th July, 2006 at 9:06 am  

    Rakesh, do fuck off to the hole you crawled out from.

  89. sonia — on 30th July, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    vikrant post 76 is spot on!

    anyhow i think its pretty clear that it’s *considered* perfectly acceptable to spout such views around the indian subcontinent. so perhaps its not so surprising, though of course still shocking.

    personally i have to say what i find really shocking is the racism i’ve come up against here – which i have to say has 99% come from other asians. i dunno – maybe its particularly shocking to hear people talk about ‘oh those racist goras’ and turn around and be pretty damn racist themselves.

  90. sonia — on 30th July, 2006 at 6:26 pm  

    was reading this thread on sepia mutiny and thought it was worth checking out -

    http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/003629.html#comment76117

  91. vida — on 31st July, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    funny, i’m reading this, and i’m a black american woman who loves bollywood films, but yes of course, i’ve noticed how racist the industry is…then men can be dark AND chubby AND not particularly goodlooking, and the women are fair and MOST with the exception of ash or rani, are wearing colored contacts in hopes of looking more…white (“exotic?”). it’s sad, b/c of the history of black women in america we totally see that indian women are not there yet, as far as getting the voices of the darker women heard…i think bipasha is one of the most beautiful and sexy women in bollywood, and she is my complexion AND more representative of the indian women i see in real life (sorry if this offends, but the average indian women i meet in the US don’t nearly pass the bollywood standard of being fair, i’m more fair than most indian women i’ve met.) i also had an indian friend (who was a christian not hindu) say that i should marry a white man b/c i’m so light, we would have pretty babies, and that she herself was not attracted to indian men…she wanted someone blond with blue eyes…so, i can see your culture/race is effected by color as mush as americans are.
    oh, and btw, rimi sen IS dumb, and from what i recall she’s said stupid things in the past.

  92. Debraj Majumdar — on 2nd August, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

    ***”It is a preference. Why people are so concerned about her opinion? “***

    Honestly, Rakesh, YOUR posting shocked me a lot more than Rimi Sen’s comment did : if it’s simply a matter of “preference”, surely you don’t mind if whites or blacks used similar racist abuse against Indians ? How would YOU feel like if Halle Berry, for example, said “Indian actresses will never make it Internationally because they’re acting is c**p and they look awful ” ?

    People are entitled to their opinions but that doesn’t mean some of them should feel free to share their bigoted views with everyone !

    **”Of course black people aren’t beautiful.”**

    FYI, worldwide, Halle Berry and Naomi Campbell are more popular than Ash ! Of course, every ethnic community loves to think that their women have got the best looks : that’s perfectly okay so long as you don’t go around calling women from other communities ugly.

    ***”All these people whining about racism – would you have a relationship with a dark skinned women? NO.”***

    What makes you so goddamn sure about that ? And, actually, it’s thugs like you waiting at street corners who make Indians think twice before starting relationships with blacks !

    ***”Then why the double standard? Dark skinned people are aware of their limitations.”***

    It’s the people who resent being targets of racism but aren’t above making racist comments themselves, that’re guilty of double standards !

    Talking about “limitations”, I’m sure you wouldn’t be upset if white supremacist/ racist organizations remarked, “Indians with their Holy Cows still belong to the 18th century ” ? WE would be for sure !

    It makes me sick that some members of a non-white community ( whose people have faced racism in the West themselves ) can have negative racial stereotypes about other such communities ! But then, supporters of far right politics back home are often indignant at far right rhetorics when they migrate to the West!

    Rimi Sen is a B-lister ( who must be dumb if she figured that directors could make her “look pretty” !)but it’s about time she admitted making a mistake and apologized for it.

  93. sonia — on 2nd August, 2006 at 3:01 pm  

    debraj – “It’s the people who resent being targets of racism but aren’t above making racist comments themselves, that’re guilty of double standards !”

    spot on

  94. rakesh — on 3rd August, 2006 at 7:07 am  

    Again why should she apologise?

    Honestly Halle Berry is considered beautiful because of of the “black” culture prevailing in US. This means we should not pass any kind of comments about blacks because of political correctness. I don’t think people in general will think of her as beautiful. And Naomi campbell looks like a monkey.So what is your point?

    The thing is I don’t care about racism. I just care about calling a spade a spade. I do think fair skinned actresses in Bollywood are quite beautiful.But the darker skinned actresses don’t have much of a chance in Bollywood because people don’t like them.End of story.

    Rimi sen has freedom of speech and she can say what she wants. You have freedom of speech to condemn it. But expecting her to apologise is a bit much.She just told the truth.

    And how many of you guys fall in love with black people? Not many I would expect.Hypocrites.

  95. sintia — on 6th August, 2006 at 1:20 pm  

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Industries, wherever they are, that operate on using beautiful women not only use existing stereotypes but gradually create new ones as well. The actress who said that not only believes she is beautiful because she fits into the accepted Bollywood stereotype of beauty but because, it seems to me she grades herself on an ‘someone else needs to be ugly for me to be pretty principle’. That she is putting the African or Africans down seems obvious, but I think she herself is obsessed with the idea of being pretty and it being related to a certain criterion list that she does not mind her mind… yes, i mean an airhead is what she is.

    In my experience people are beautiful to different people for many reasons or sometimes for no explicable reason at all and to relate it to race denotes someone who doesn’t think, but is merely a mirror for media stereotypes.

    She probably says a whole lot of other stupid things that she doesn’t realise are stupid… I wonder if there is a school for manners in India.

    As for Rakesh, I don’t think she needs to apologize to anyone but maybe she would also fart in someone’s face if she wanted to. I think Halle Berry is beautiful. I think Naomi Campbell is beautiful. But i also think Aishwarya Rai is beautiful and so is Zhiyi Zang (memoirs of a geisha) as are tons of other women. Point is no one needs to apologize for thinking anyone attractive, but it is bad manners to say so. I’m sure not everyone you met has found you devastatingly attractive, nor has every indian girl you’ve seen been beautiful.

    As for falling love, oh my Word! you have so much to learn. Try coming to South Africa and seeing how some Indian guys go crazy over black women, and white, and coloured and lots of other races…

    Point is you are socialised to think some things are okay, you don’t find black women attractive that’s cool- nobody’s asking you to, but don’t act as though your thoughts are everyone else’s.

  96. SP — on 17th August, 2006 at 9:18 am  

    Rakhee and Vikrant – Vicco Turmeric was not supposed to be a skin lightening cream, just a modern mass-produced version of the traditional pre-wedding haldi vatna (which is supposed to reduce body hair growth or some such nonsense).

    “Vicco Turmeric
    Nahin cosmetic
    Vicco turmeric ayurvedic cream
    [ta-tun,ta-tun]
    Keel muhason ko jhat se mitaye
    Haldi aur chandan ke gun yeh samaye
    Tvacha ki raksha kare ayurvedic cream!
    Vicco Turmeric
    Nahin cosmetic
    Vicco turmeric ayurvedic cream!”

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