Colour of Skin

By Somali K Chakrabarti

Racism

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Blinded minds, tongues

tied; morals guided by color

of skin; sucked in the

venomous vortex of  bias

Reason dies, rhetoric screams!

 

 

The recent attack on a Tanzanian girl in Karnataka, has brought to the spotlight the ugly face of racism once again. Yet, many of the state govt officials continue to live in denial that the problem persists. Nurturing a hatred for any community based on their features, skin tone, language and culture amounts to racism, but can a problem be tackled unless people admit that the problem exists?

A Tanka is a Japanese poem consisting of 31 syllables in 5 lines, with 5 syllables in the first and third lines and 7 in the others.

 

 

Lei: A wreath for your soul  is a collection of short poems that combine elements of nature, philosophy, culture, science and spirituality. Take a peek here on Kindle Store.
Lei

 

 

 

 

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Readers Comments (43)

  1. Contempt for all who did it, but wouldn’t blame entire state or people of state for it. Lived in Bangalore as North-Indian for long, but learnt Kannada in a month. So I did learn Marathi when I was in Maharasthra, and Norsk when I am in Norway now. Its not racism always but how we gel together, and mingle up with people to even out the barriers. To say barriers don’t exist, and one is egalitarian and other isn’t, is unnatural. It exists and a mutual approach for co-existence is desirable. This mob doesn’t belong the city for sure, and so doesn’t the media who push the entire city to corner.

    Reply
  2. It is not only about the state but such incidents have happened in other parts of the country as well. Discrimination (if not racism) does exist in the minds including prejudice against people from different states, and in the worst cases become apparent in such mob actions. As you have said a mutual approach for co-existence is desirable.

    Reply
  3. It’s a lengthy topic and discrimination on similar grounds exists even with the citizens of the country in Mera Bhaarat Mahaan. However I endorse your viewpoint that admission / acknowledgement of the problem is the first step in the direction of its resolution. Such things are to be condemned (without any qualification) and more than that, prevented.

    Reply
  4. Acknowledging is a key and I think getting the issue out front in different forms (like your poem) is key too. You never know which form of the message will take hold….

    Reply
  5. It thrills me to read your potent words. Yes, let’s set our eyes on peace and tolerance. 🌎 🌍 🌏

    Reply
  6. Hi Somali,

    This is a very sensitive topic, which is often swept under the carpet. Living in the world of denial can never root it out. We have to acknowledge and address this age-old malaise, which keeps revisiting humanity in one form or another.
    Thanks for highlighting it.

    Reply
  7. Do you have two blogs? Quite challenging! 🙂

    Reply
    • Oh yes! Actually I wanted to switch over completely to self hosted blog but later realized that I was too much in love with wordpress.com for the ease of use, so maintained two separately..but yes as you have rightly guessed it becomes challenging.

      Reply
  8. My maid picked up a bottle of moisturizer which she applies on my mother’s body regularly and asked me whether it was a fairness cream as she required one for her niece. I asked her not to bother about the colour of the skin as it was inconsequential. I really don’t know whether she understood me or not. The moot point is this partiality towards lighter skin is ingrained in our culture since ages. It is unfortunate and sad. We are wired to assess beauty by its surface value and humanity by racial traits.

    Reply
  9. bhudeb chakabarti February 8, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

    A beautiful poem on a contemporary problem. There is no such thing as pure race .We all trace our origin to the same ancestor. Scientists tell us that no one has any right to boast of his or her colour of skin. They are not able to find that one particular group of people based on colour etc. is any more capable than the other. I remember during my days in Presidency College Calcutta , a Ugandan student, a great human being , happened to be my best friend.

    Reply
  10. Unfortunately, these prejudices run deep in our psyche.
    Allow me to share this post:https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/black-is-also-beautiful

    Reply
  11. We have been trying to get rid of this for long, we have succeeded a lot but still a long way to go.

    Reply
  12. Sad but truth…being non-white, i suffered from it too!

    Reply
  13. It’s not only against foreigners with dark skins, we are capable of hating our own countryfellows with different skin colors. Even today fairness is considered a synonym to beauty. How stupid can one get to buy fairness cream to enhance their beauty? And, we have superstars promoting this juvenile obsession and educated people buying it.

    Whatever happened to Shakespeare? Beauty is skin deep? Nowadays, it’s packed in tubes with a 14 days guarantee. :/

    Reply
    • The obsession for fairness ingrained in the mind and the perception of cultural superiority that each community has over the other contributes to such illogical and unacceptable behaviour. Thank you Rakesh.

      Reply
  14. It’s sad. I can’t believe in happened in a civilized society. Are we civilized?

    Beautiful, heart wrenching verse.

    Reply
  15. Discrimination is an ugly beast, rooted deeply in the hidden , dark folds of our minds.

    Reply
  16. Strong tanka…..’rhetoric screams’ very very apt..!

    Reply
  17. Unfortunately, in the U.S., racism is rampant!

    Reply
  18. A powerful poem against the barbarity displayed by a small section of people bringing disrepute to the state and our country and making Indians in the other country vulnerable.The guilty should be punished ruthlessly at the soonest.

    Reply
  19. Belief and social conditioning bring about the death of reason

    Reply
  20. Apt lines on the occasion. It shows the sensibility of the poet. Good initiative, Somali 🙂

    Reply
  21. It’s a sensitive issue and is prevalent not only as black vs white but something even more than that. In our country too, we have songs/films starting with “gori” and it is an essential quality for females for being beautiful. Have you ever heard a song addressing a beautiful female as ‘kali”? never, it’s a word of contempt. The notion is a deep-rooted one… 🙁

    A very powerful and precise tanka..

    Reply
    • Thank you Maniparna. You are so right… let the heroine be from gaon, shahar , anywhere but the songs will have mention gori. The only exception to this was a very old song ‘More gora rang lai le’ picturized on Nutun I guess.

      Reply

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