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Resurgent ethnicity confidence

EducationWorld March 2024 | Magazine Postscript

Green shoots indicate that Indians, who had to endure the rule of pale-skinned foreigners for 500 years, are recovering their self-confidence and ethnic pride. According to a Nielsen IQ 2023 market research study, volume sales of ‘fairness’ creams have declined for the first year ever.

Brainwashed for centuries by light-complexioned invaders including unprepossessing Brits that their skin tones were ideals of pulchritude, most Indians ignored the reality that in the harsh sunlight of the subcontinent, Brits resembled scary ‘Red Devils’. Most susceptible to this historical brainwash are north Indians who dominate the films and cinema industry. Punjabi badshahs of Bollywood decreed that pale imitations of Hollywood movie stars were a precondition of beautiful actresses. Ethnic beauties seldom made it to the top.

Unquestioningly ready to cash in on colour prejudice, cosmetics and beauty care product manufacturers flooded the Indian market with skin-tone lightening products, many of which are dangerous to health and in most cases, didn’t deliver their promise. In the vanguard of these companies was Hindustan Lever (since christened Hindustan Unilever) which widely promoted its skin-lightening brand Fair & Lovely. For over half a century, Unilever UK/Holland hyper-marketed this slyly christened cosmetic cream which not only inflicted dermatological damage on millions of women nationwide, but also damaged their self-esteem and ethnic pride.

When EducationWorld protested this cynical exploitation of the insecurities of Indian women (and men) and criticised market leader Fair & Lovely, HLL’s reaction was to cut off all advertising. But later when it became politically incorrect to promote colour prejudice, in 2020 HLL rebranded F&L as Glow & Lovely. This product which has penetrated hinterland India — and millions of minds — is too profitable to discontinue.

Also read: Tragic history: The Arabs: A History

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