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In a recent event, the High Court has allowed a woman to divorce her husband for shaming her and calling her ‘kali- kaluti’. It’s time society stops shaming a women for her skin colour.
In a ground breaking ruling, the high court of Punjab and Haryana has allowed a woman from Mahendargarh in Haryana to divorce her husband for treating her shabbily and calling her ‘kali-kaluti’. The court was sympathetic to the wife who alleged that her husband would jeer at her and make demeaning comments on her skin color in front of outsiders. He would also criticize her for not cooking for him. It was obvious that the woman had faced mental, physical and emotional harassment. The lady was forced to leave and go back to her parents. Her in-laws also threatened that they will remarry their son again.
This case is another example of our country’s obsession with fair skin. This thinking can be a residue of our colonial hangover which has been ingrained in our sub-conscious, that fair is beautiful and superior. Most of the cosmetic companies in India make their money by promising us brown skinned women a fair, glowing complexion, which will make men faint as soon as you walk down the street. Just a few years ago, some of them were actually making regressive ads which showed a dusky girl who could not find suitable grooms or jobs because of her complexion. The ads have now changed but the mind-set has not.
If you go through the matrimonial section in any newspaper you will find ads for brides who are beautiful, educated, employed and fair skinned. It is no secret that parents of dusky complexioned girls are usually worried about her ‘value’ in the matrimonial market and try to compensate for their ‘lack in skin color’ through dowry. This, of course is not a guarantee that their daughters will be spared the taunts on their complexion for the rest of their lives.
In a similar case in 2015, a man had decided to divorce his pregnant wife, because she was dark skinned. The woman filed a complaint against him, where she described how she was physically abused by her husband and criticized for her skin color.
It’s about time that women stopped feeling inferior or less worthy because of their skin color. It’s time they stood up for their rights and refused to bow down to the ridiculous standards that society sets up for beauty.
This ruling might bring winds of change. Though it will take a long time for this deep rooted prejudice to be wiped out, it is at least a start.
The skin color of a woman does not define her. Her essence and personality does. It’s time that women decided enough was enough and decided to say ‘No’ to being shamed for the way they look, say ‘No’ to being humiliated because of their complexion, and say ‘No’ to listening to any abuse directed towards their skin color.
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