We asked readers if they have been discriminated against because of their dark complexion. Here are their responses.
'I was turned down as a bride by many grooms who were dark-skinned. They were from the upper strata and wanted a bride who was good-looking and fair.
'They did not look at my education or my etiquette. What mattered to them was my colour.
'I was also rejected on the grounds that I was not well groomed.
'Trivial things like waxing hands and legs, tweaked eye brows, re-bonded hair also matter a lot these days. I was rejected on those grounds too,' says Munira.
Yes, I have been discriminated against numerous times because of my colour.
I would not say I am dark-skinned (I wish I was dark; at least that would justify people discriminating against me because of my colour). I am just not fair enough to be called fair.
It's all about mindset. It's deep-rooted. Whether you are in the West or in the East, it does not matter. You are human at the end of day. Humans are prejudiced all the time on the basis of colour, caste, race, money, IQ, language... the list goes on.
I was also rejected on the grounds that I wanted to work and do something in my life.
At times, grooms are just looking for partners who are hep but, after marriage, they want the same woman to be a homemaker. They want arm candies outside the house but a working cow once you are inside the four walls of a house.
Even at work, my colleague who is fair-skinned has been promoted twice and the one who is dark-skinned has been promoted once.
I remain nowhere when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. I am neither snow white nor am I a black beauty who would impress the boss.
Discrimination will never end. In fact, it's discrimination that is pouring money into the pockets of Fair & Lovely.
'Even the darkest of males prefer fair skinned girls!'
Very true! I am a victim. Rather, my daughter is a victim.
I have not been able to marry her off despite all efforts since the last four years.
She has all the qualities a prospective bride should have. She is intelligent but her colour takes it all away. Being a mentally strong girl, she has not broken down yet; a much weaker girl would have taken drastic steps or got depressed.
It is a bad feeling when you see girls around you getting married, especially those younger to you. It is all the more sad when this happens in Kerala where people are darker compared to those in the north of India!
Even the darkest of males prefer fair-skinned girls!
'We were called 'black bear girls' in school by our classmates'
I have always been discriminated against on the basis of my dark skin; I have led my entire life seeing fair-skinned girls getting the advantage of their colour.
My friend and I would be jokingly be called 'black bear girls' in school by our classmates. It was a sort of harassment.
I would always score less marks in oral viva examinations; I feel this was due to my colour.
In school, my teachers didn't allow me to participate in any dance functions until they learnt that I was learning dance professionally. They thought I could not dance or sing or act (because I was dark-skinned). It was the most painful period of my life.
I have always been let down by my colour and I have always felt that being fair is an advantage.
It is not only in our country; it is universal. Now, I have learned to accept it.
My Indian friends who are fair-skinned face discrimination abroad. That's when they understand what I go through.
In the Western world, all Indians are brown -- irrespective of whether they are fair or dark.
My friend who used to always be favoured here due to her fair colour now understands discrimination as she is in the UK and there she is 'coloured'. Well, that's the way the world is.
'In India, only fair is beautiful'
Yes, there is discrimination against dark-skinned people. This applies not only to women but men as well. More attention or benefits are received by fair-skinned people.
I am a person who has dark skin and so I get rejected for marriage by people who want a beautiful girl, In India, only fair is beautiful. But it is not so!
We can see that in European or foreign countries it was an issue but they have legislated laws against discrimination. Even a dark-skinned person can become a heroine there, but not in India.
Note: The lead picture is used only for representational purpose
Photograph: Rediff ArchivesHave you been discriminated against?
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Responses will be edited for brevity.