A short story – The Black One

By: Jitendra Damudre.

Teacher…. Teacher come quickly, the boys in the playground are fighting.

The teachers soon rushed to the playground to stop the fight.
A gang of students were pushing the boy around, whilst another young boy was trying to
save the victim’s glasses. Seeing the teachers approach the scene, the perpetrators ran
off, leaving only the spectators behind.
The teachers asked, “why were they fighting?”
No one answered them, perhaps they were afraid of the boys from the gang!
“Well, you guys stood watching it! Why didn’t you try stopping the fight?” enquired one
teacher.
Still no one replied!
One teacher asked the battered boy, “why were they pushing you? Did you do anything
to them?
“Tell me the truth and I will not punish you!”
The boy couldn’t hold his tears and started crying. Some of those standing nearby,
started crying too! They knew what happened.
The boys called me ‘blackie’ and kept pushing me around!
“Aren’t you black?” cheekily asked one of the students, as a few others chuckled! 
“I feel uncomfortable about the colour of my skin; other kids make it sound so dirty and
impure.
Can I ask you a question, teacher?” asked the boy
“Yes, you may,” replied the teacher.
“Why do we think ‘fair’ is something that is good, and dark, something bad? Like a fair
game, dark secrets! Why must darkness always be shameful?”
The teacher and the onlookers stood in silence.
The child kept crying, he was looking for answers.
The teacher said,” Krishna was black and He is beautiful!”

The boy replied, “I have never seen Krishna black. In the temples that I visit, He is made
of marble and is white in colour, photographs I see, He is painted blue. He is never
black.”
The teacher mumbled, Kali is black too! But soon realised that She is painted blue and
kept quiet. The teacher let the boy speak.
“Why do people hate ‘black’ so much? Is it my fault if I am dark-skinned? People like
dogs that are black, and pat them with love; am I worse than that?”, asked the boy.
The students and teachers around felt numb, many could feel his pain.
His favourite teacher soon rushed to his aid, she took him over to the teachers’ room
and got him seated. The child felt secure and protected in the comfort of his favourite
teacher.
She swapped her own class with the boys’ teacher in his next class, so that she could
visit the classroom. They both walked in together.
The entire class stood up and greeted the teacher.
The boy went back to his seat, feeling confident and assured that no one will say
anything.
The teacher reproached the entire class: “I am deeply upset with what happened in the
playground today. It should never have happened! It was wrong! What makes anybody
think that having a fairer skin makes them superior to someone with a dark
complexion?”
“There she goes!”, whispered a boy to his friend, both giggling.
The teacher made the two boys stand up, asking them for the reason for the laughter.
The student said, “our history textbooks said that the Aryans were the superior class of
people who came and conquered India, and taught Indians how to live. They are the fair
skinned people while Indians are the darker skin.”
“I can’t believe the textbooks are still teaching AIT,” said the teacher.
“What is AIT?” asked some students.
“Aryan Invasion Theory,” replied the teacher.
She went on to say, “It is time that our textbooks are updated, and present the correct
information to you all, rather than repeating a Colonial-era stereotype that has created a
nonsensical theory of superiority throughout the Subcontinent, to an extent where dark-
coloured people feel ashamed of their own skin. The advertisements for creams to make
your skin colour fairer and lovelier or to become handsome, I just don’t get it. It is such
an irony that the guy who sang, ‘no matter if you are black or white’, underwent so
many procedures to become white.”
The teacher wrote on the board in large writing, “There is no race called Aryan.’
In 2013, a paper was submitted at Plos genetics, which mentioned that light skin allele
of SLC24A5 in South Asians and Europeans shares identity by descent. 
(https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1003912) 

It simply means that the mutation appeared in the genetic record nearly 30,000 years
ago and this mutation is common between Europeans and South Asians. It controls the
expression of Melanin (pigment that determines skin colour), which is the 15th
chromosome of the human body, it controls the expression of melanin and depending
upon our exposure to sun, this pigment determines our skin colour. The higher the level
of melanin, the darker your skin becomes. Usually when one lacks something, we feel
sorry or embarrassed or ashamed of it, but this is a perfect example of where one has
used their lack of melanin to feel powerful and superior.
“And now to you, my child, probably its time for you to visit Vitthal in Pandharpur;
Dwarkadish in Dwarka; Badri at Badrinath; Srinathji at Nathdwara; and Banke Bihari in
Vrindavan. There you shall find your Krishna Black. He will always be black, because
Krishna means black.
And Kali? said the boy who had heard his teacher mutter it before.
Dakshineshwar, the teacher replied instantly.
Krishna did complain to His mother Yashoda, once, why is He black and Radha fair?
Ma Yashoda replied,” because You are Ghanashyam (black clouds), You bring rains on
the earth to make the earth green.”
Meanwhile, as you are researching and seeking your own help, here are a couple of tips
that can help you fight discrimination against Skin colour/ Racism:
# Don’t be a victim, stand up for yourself or someone else, even if that person is a
stranger – remember racism is a learned behaviour.
# Respond with knowledge, quoting facts or statistics help understand the extent to
which a person could be hurt.
# Stand up against micro-aggressions – these are actions that affect people deeply. For
example, avoiding sitting next to a person of a different race or skin colour.
# Schools should be a safe place: inform your teacher or principal if you have ever
experienced discrimination against your skin colour or race, ask the school to conduct
lectures on racism.
# Celebrate Multicultural events.
# Adopt zero tolerance policy against racism at schools.