The livecast discussion “Caste and Colourism: Challenging the Standards for Love in Biased Societies”, with the Executive Producer of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking show, Smriti Mundhra, International Dalit Solidarity Director, Meena Varma and Director of Equality Labs, Thenmozhi Soundarajan and activist Christina Dhanaraj who has authored “Swipe me left I’m Dalit” from the book “Love is not a Word”, has been viewed over 35,000 times, shared 300 times and has over 300 comments on the IDSN Facebook page.
The discussion strikes a chord with many and centres around a critique by IDSN and Dalit activists that the Netflix show sweeps casteism and colourism under the rug, by implying them on the show but never addressing the issues directly or explicitly. The shows one-sided focus on mainly Hindu dominant caste participants and their matchmaking processes, where filters such as “community” (often code speak for caste) and “fair skin colour” are used to find desirable matches, is seen to perpetuate social structures where caste and colour dominate without questioning the practice in the process.
The show’s Executive Producer, Smriti Mundhra, takes many of the points on board and reflects on the critique, hoping that the show can lead to more dialogue and awareness around these issues despite failing to bring them up directly in the series. She also mentions the hope that the show may have a season two and that this could create an opportunity to look at how the story could be framed differently.
Along the way the moderator of the debate, Mahdis Keshavarz, brought up questions about representation, diversity, voice and responsibility from the many live viewers who had put them in the comments space on IDSN’s Facebook page for the discussants to answer.
You can watch the incredibly rich debate with some amazing women here or on IDSN’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/dalitnetwork where you can also see all the many great comments made by viewers. Do also comment and share it in your own networks if you want to spread awareness of the need to address casteism and colourism head on.