Thursday, September 29, 2005


Fair: adj

1 Of pleasing appearance, especially because of a pure or fresh quality; comely.

2 Light in color, especially blond: fair hair.

3 Of light complexion: fair skin.

4 Free of blemishes or stains; clean and pure: one's fair name.

5 Beautiful: beautiful or beloved woman.

6 Characterized by honesty and justice : free from self-interest, deception, injustice, or favoritism

7 Consistent with merit or importance

-not long ago I found myself in Southern India where I was startled to see a gigantic marketing effort by cosmetics companies selling "fairness creams." While the ads are omnipresent in media markets in other parts of the country, I cannot overstate the abundance of the ads in the South. They were everywhere, and it was clear that their use was not restricted to women. (As most there are of Dravidian stock, you see many more darker-skinned people.) Anyway, it was somehow even more jarring to see young and middle-aged men (including an inordinate number of rickshaw drivers) with their skin bleached to an ashy-grey pallor.

If you're wondering why, you need only look at the matrimonial ads like this. (Hint: "wheatish" is code for fair.)

Here are some sites on the topic for your browsing pleasure:
-the kernel of evil:

-and others