Last night, Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter Suhana Khan, put up an Instagram post calling out the need to end the rampant colourism in India. She shared her own experience of receiving hateful comments from people basis her skin tone. It was a maturely written, encouraging, even necessary statement she gave on the double standards of Indians to discriminate each other despite us all being just different shades of brown with different degrees of melanin. But as always happens, the troll brigade swooped down on her to point out that her father had done ads promoting fairness creams in the past and hence, Suhana herself had no right to speak about colourism. Some users even went so far as to say that she deserved the hate since Khan was part of the film industry that “excluded” Sushant Singh Rajput.

Why must Suhana’s opinions be tied down to her father’s endorsement of fairness cream? Does she not have a mind of her own to decide for herself what’s wrong and what isn’t? Why are people more alarmed by the fact that a girl has chosen to speak up about colourism than the very issue of colourism itself? Moreover, does every event even remotely related to Bollywood have to be seen in the light of getting justice for Rajput?

Also Read: Men Entered the Fairness Race and We Didn’t Even Take Notice!

Why Must A Child Be Answerable For Her Father’s Choices?

The year was 2016 when Khan was doing ads for a fairness cream called ‘Fair and Handsome‘ by Emami. He had justified his decision later in an interview by saying something along these lines that (endorsing fairness creams) is completely ‘legal’ and that he doesn’t use the cream personally and doesn’t ‘believe in the idea of selling beauty’ either. Now whether that argument counts for something or not, is a beef his fans will have to pick with him and him alone. Why should his decisions be piled onto his daughter?

The trolling is a classic display of the perception of parent-child relationships in India. People refuse to see the parents and their child as different entities – they want their opinions to always be co-dependent, always match.

Also Read: Books, Chess, And Faux Pas: A How-NOT-To Guide By Bollywood

Suhana Khan’s Instagram Post Was A Brave Move

Those trolling Suhana Khan are making her out to be a huge factor of decision-making in all the roads her father has taken in his career till now. She must have been 16 when her father’s fairness cream ads were doing rounds. Must he have taken her consultation before choosing to feature in them? Would she have been given an opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of such an ad before allowing her father to go ahead with it? We don’t know. What we do know, from Suhana’s post, is that she has been called “ugly” for her brown skin since as early as age 12. Therefore, the onus of doing a fairness ad even as his daughter was being called names back then falls entirely on Khan. For that, he is answerable, Suhana is not.

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Suhana Khan, Shah Rukh Khan's daughter, in her latest Instagram post has put out a call to end colourism in the country. In a long caption, she elaborated on how she has been subjected to disdain due to her skin tone and appearance by adults and others.  Along with the picture above, she wrote, "I've been told I'm ugly because of my skin tone, by full grown men and women, since I was 12 years old… I'm sorry if social media, Indian matchmaking or even your own families have convinced you, that if you're not 5"7 and fair you're not beautiful. I hope it helps to know that I'm 5"3 and brown and I am extremely happy about it and you should be too."  She also posted a series of screenshots of hateful comments she receives on Instagram. Report by: @shortscrawls   Image Credit: Suhana Khan, Instagram (@suhanakhan2) #stpnews #shethepeople #endcolourism #suhanakhan #srk #colourism #skintone #allshadesarebeautiful #racism #skindiscrimination #indiasgotcolour #anticolourism #skincolour #brownskin

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Instead, she deserves to be applauded for voicing her concerns, in my opinion. Being the daughter of celebrity parents did not deter her from speaking her mind independently of them, on an issue that is still largely contentious in India. It was courageous of her to disregard the possible disfavour her father would risk falling into since her “brown is beautiful” opinion is unfortunately still an unpopular one.

Also Read: You Can Drop The Fair, But Can You Stop The Obsession With Being “Lovely”?

Will Attacking Suhana Khan Bring Justice To Rajput?

Some trolls even went so far as to draw what was a rather limp and uneven correlation between her and Rajput’s death, saying that the hate was coming to her by way of justice for the late actor who could not sustain in an industry populated by the likes of her father and others. Firstly, Suhana Khan is only the daughter of an industry member, not directly a part of it yet, so is she really answerable to anyone in Rajput’s death case? Secondly, isn’t she too young to be implicated in it on no grounds whatsoever? Rajput’s warriors must understand that this myopic outlook will not bring him justice.

Also Read: Journalist who Quit Republic TV, says it’s Running an ‘Aggressive Agenda’ against Rhea

That a woman has chosen to raise her voice to condemn discrimination based on skin colour in the country narrating her personal experience is a huge thing. It’s not easy for any person to reveal to the world the hate that comes their way, no matter their status or background. Hate is painful for everyone. If someone chooses to speak up, they must be encouraged, not vilified. That is how the fight moves forward.

Image Credit: Suhana Khan Instagram + India Legal

Views expressed are the author’s own. 

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