The outrage at the racist comments that greeted Nina Davuluri, Indian-origin girl crowned Miss America, is justified (“Pigment of our imagination,” Sept. 19). It is difficult to believe that they could emanate from a country that considers itself the leader of the new world. Such behaviour should be condemned outright and nipped in the bud.

But let us face it — such behaviour is so typical in our great nation. Those coming to other parts of India from the north-east are at the receiving end of discrimination on a day-to-day basis. They are collectively packaged as ‘Chinky’ (whether they belong to north-east India, Nepal, China or some other South East Asian country). How many north-easterners have won the Miss India title? All of us raise a hue and cry over problems elsewhere; seldom do we look at our backyard.

Katoho H. Keith Sukhalu,


It is indeed disappointing that Ms Davuluri had a bitter experience after she won the coveted title. But it is equally true that our own society is obsessed with fair skin. The biggest benefactor of the obsession is the cosmetic industry.

But the argument that dark-complexioned women do not win beauty contests in India is not right as Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra, and Diana Hayden have falsified the belief that our society is completely biased in favour of fair skin.

Madhusree Guha,


The electronic media, which is raising such a hue and cry over the Nina issue, should tell us how many women news readers or anchors are dark skinned or “wheatish” complexioned. Let charity begin at home.

D.V. Madhava Rao,


It is a pity that we, Indians, are obsessed with light complexion. Any product making preposterous claims of brightening the skin tone should be banned. A law should be enacted to regulate the promotion of such products. More important, people should change their perception of skin tones and make this world a better place to live in.

Nishitha Krishnaswamy,


Most of us are partial to women with a fair complexion but we do not admit it openly. The hostility that greeted Ms Davuluri reveals the mindset of a class that wants to assert the supremacy of the white skin over the dark skin. For this class, if it isn’t white, it isn’t right.

Rijo Thomas,

New Delhi

What a pity that the racist remarks came from the most modern and developed part of the world. One would have expected Americans to be more open-minded. I can only feel sorry for those who are obsessed with the colour of the skin.

Renu Dhillon,


Hearty congratulations to Ms Davuluri on becoming Miss America. Her attitude of rising above the nasty racial prejudice is commendable. By winning the title, she has proved that beauty is not skin deep.

G.V.K. Durga Ravi,


What is baffling is that those who created history by voting for Barack Obama, not once but twice, can also be chauvinistic and racist.

There are a few in all societies who cannot change their thinking. Let us not blame the entire American society for the folly of a few disgruntled elements.

Tharcius S. Fernando,


Ms Davuluri has been called “Arab” and “terrorist” by some social media users. But let it not bother us. Many find it difficult to differentiate between Asian communities. Even in India, many north Indians cannot differentiate among the people of south Indian States.

As one who has stayed in Saudi Arabia for years, I can say Arabs are good looking. Terrorist? Well, Ms Davuluri has indeed dropped a bombshell on a show hitherto dominated by whites.

Gopal Sutar,



Pigment of our imaginationSeptember 19, 2013

First Indian-origin woman crowned Miss America September 17, 2013

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