If you grew up in an Indian household, then rhymes and lullabies were probably a big part of your childhood. There is always a lullaby that holds a special place in your heart.
The other day out of the blue I started humming “Nani Teri Morni”. I’m sure a lot of you’ll are aware of this childhood anthem. This nursery rhyme is about a child informing her grandma that she’s been robbed.
While humming the rhyme, it suddenly came to my attention that the lyrics of the rhyme were pretty racist…
While its first line is fairly innocent, the second however, which was about the “kaale” (black) thieves, disturbed me.
This line should’ve prompted a better discretion from the older generation around us.
And I’m surely not the first one out here to point out the racist connotations of the rhyme. I found out that many share the same view point as I: “What was the need to specify the skin tone of the thieves?!”
It is not just this rhyme, but we have grown up in a society where the color black is often used to portray comedy or something evil. Take Bollywood for instance
Even Baahubali, which one of India’s biggest blockbuster used the color black to depict an evil warrior tribe. A mere coincidence? May be not…
How about our childhood comics? The distinction between the demonic rakshasas and the saintly gods, was almost exclusively done through the color tone of their skin. No points for getting who get the lighter or “fairer” skin tone!