Comments on complexion create ruckus in Rajya Sabha

Comments on complexion create ruckus in Rajya Sabha

JD-U MP Sharad Yadav's comment on women's complexion created a ruckus in Rajya Sabha on Monday, after union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad raised the issue asking the member to withdraw his comments.

During the debate on the insurance bill in the Rajya Sabha last week, the Janata Dal-United leader spoke on Indian's obsession for fair skin and said: "Your God is dark like Ravi Shankar Prasad, but your matrimonial ads insist on white-skinned brides."

Referring to complexion of south Indian women, he said: "The women of the south are dark but they are as beautiful as their bodies... We don't see it here. They know (how to) dance."

Raising the issue on Monday, Prasad said: "Comments were made on south Indian women, I was also mentioned, I remained quiet. I want to keep myself away from that comment."

"I completely disagree with the comment. Ask the member to withdraw the comment," he urged the chair.

Trying to clarify, Yadav said his comments were misinterpreted: "There are more dusky women in India and in the world... I can discuss the issue with anyone, we are in favour of Indian culture."

Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, responding sharply, said the member should not comment on the complexion of women in any way.

"I appeal through you (chair) to the gentleman, do not make comments about the colour of any woman's skin. You (Sharad Yadav) are a senior member, a very wrong message is going to the rest of the country," she said.

Yadav responded saying: "I strongly refute the allegation."

"From Gandhi to Lohia, I have all the record of what has been said about women. A lot of struggle has been done for women with dark complexion," he said, to which Irani responded saying: "Please don't do this. Naming Lohia and Gandhi and commenting on women".

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said he would not allow a discussion on the issue.
"White complexion or dark complexion, it is all the same, I am not allowing a discussion on this," Kurien said.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad opined that the issue should not be discussed as it will get more complicated.

Yadav, however, said he was ready to participate in a discussion.
"There has been a long struggle against discrimination based on colour... I am ready to participate in a debate any time," said Yadav.

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