Monday, May 17, 2010

The politics of “roop tera mastana”

I was reading a blog post on one of the blogs that I kind of follow, and the subject was popular Bollywood songs. She was talking about how every single popular (and most not-so-popular) Hindi film song, addressed to a female beloved is always in praise of looks. Whether it is “roop tera mastana” or “ye kalikali aankhen”; whether it is “chandan sa badan” or “jadoo teri nazar”; it is all about the body, beauty, youth, of the woman.

Is there nothing to a woman, noticeable or praise worthy, apart from her looks? No qualities, capabilities, talents, that one can see and appreciate? Is LOVE based only on how black my hair is or how teekhi my glances are? And if so, do women with average or below average looks have no right to expect love? (Oh, by the way, the woman is always “gori” or fair. “gore gore gaal, gora chehera, gora mukhda”. Darker skinned women are not beautiful apparently)

Thinking about it, I couldn’t come up with any love songs either, where anything other than a woman’s body/looks were praised. Its amazing! Not a one! Am thinking of throwing this challenge to all my friends now… find one! I hope someone can tell me some, because the more I think about it the worse it makes me feel. We CAN’T be that shallow…..can we?

And even if one can eventually come up with one or two, what does the dismal dearth of them say about how we see women as a culture? What messages are we sending, subliminally and otherwise, to generations of Indian youth about women, and love? Is it any wonder then that “beauty parlour” is the hottest and fastest growing business sector? That fairness products are the biggest market segment? Or that LOVE disintegrates so fast here? Maybe this also connects to my observations about the “love marriage” in India. Not surprising that most don’t work, if looks and “ada” are the only things love is based on!

So…. A woman is only worth anything if she is beautiful and fair. A man can fall in love with her for that and find his MAD LOVE uncontrollable. A woman has no right to think about the man’s looks or of sex. Less than beautiful or less than startlingly fair women have no right to expect love. (Thank god for that one actually, wouldn’t want the kind of love that is looks based).

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