Colourism in Kashmir

It’s a fact that Kashmir is a piece of heaven, but this heaven has an ugly side that exists but is not acknowledged by many. Numerous issues pollute this beautiful land. One of these problems is “colorism.” Most people would deny that they are colorists, but how true is that?
It might sound cliché, but the reality is that majority of us practice colorism. If you are a fair-toned person walking down the streets, people will look at you with admiration but this is not always true for darker skin tones. Most of the time people practice colorism unknowingly and maybe instinctively.
I remember attending a wedding where I happened to be stuck between two people having quite a productive conversation. They commented how the groom was handsome and earned well and could have easily married anyone prettier, then why did he settle for someone like her. I fail to comprehend what the notion of being “pretty” means to them. I didn’t find anything wrong with the bride except for the fact that she was not as fair as the groom. As if people can be treated as objects like that. Sadly the words “beautiful” and “fair” are used synonymously. People did and continue to do these things without thinking of how badly it might affect the other person.
Now, if I, at this point declare that I don’t blame these people what would you think?
It’s true. I don’t blame them because at some point I too had the same mindset; of course not as severe but at the back of my mind, I did think that if I was fairer people would admire me more. A part of me did long for it. I don’t blame myself either because we grew up in a society that directly and indirectly promotes colorism. The moment I accepted that colorism existed around me and in me, only then I could focus on eradicating it. The major problem in our society is not the existence of these social evils, but how we deny their existence. We pretend they don’t exist while they continue to affect so many. If we, instead of merely pretending we are all the same, start acknowledging our differences it could bring about a lot of change.
We are not similar, we come from different cultures, speak various languages, and have different thoughts and this diversity that exists in every nook and corner of the world is intriguing and beautiful.

Zainab Meraj Shah
Class X

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