I was talking with a friend a couple weeks ago about an article I read in a newsmagazine when I was in India early this year. The article was written by an American pilot working for an Indian airline. The article was about the job postings for receptionists, air hostesses, secretaries, etc. The article was mocking at the way these postings described the requirements for the jobs:
“Tall, Slim, Fair, Handsome, Clear Complexion, Between the ages of 21-27, Height and Weight Proportional”. The article was particularly taking pot-shots at the “Fair” part. It was addressing a serious issue in a humorous way. I had never taken much notice of this until someone from a different country pointed out to me. I felt ashamed, I felt low, I felt Sorry for all those “not so tall, not so slim, not so fair, not so handsome with an unclear complexion” population which is probably fully qualified for the job, but cannot even apply.
This friend forwarded the attached job posting from today’s TOI. I decided to do an experiment with this – I made an American colleague and Indian colleague read it. These are the reactions I got:
The American colleague said – “This is funny!!” She seriously thought this was a mock posting or a practical joke.
The Indian colleague said – “Had not heard about Indigo airlines, so many new airlines in India”
When I explained to the American colleague that this is a real posting she looked at me like I am on drugs. When I pointed the discriminatory aspect of the posting to the Indian colleague, he got the point and realized the bigotry. So in conclusion, if I have to explain this to an educated working professional Indian, how long would it take make a nation realize this?
Our Government has always pushed reservations down everyones throat (including the private sector soon..) to eliminate discrimination on the basis of caste. Can we have some basic laws for all castes, religions, genders for not allowing corporates to discriminate based on physical appearances?