The light-eyed beauty has landed in trouble courtesy her jewellery ad which is not only racist but also promotes child slavery…
While lately Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been in the news because of her comeback film Jazbaa, the former Miss World is currently facing backlash for her latest Kalyan Jewellers ad which came out few days ago in a leading daily. Yes, I am talking about the above picture wherein Aishwarya is seen along with a black kid in the background holding an umbrella. This is the advertisement which has irked activists and commoners alike on Twitter. Well, not only the print ad is racist but it clearly promotes child labour – a grave issue which our country has been dealing for the longest time. Considering Aishwarya has always supported social causes and has been associated with UN, it’s surprising that she agreed to feature in a print commercial like this, which is outright offensive and very controversial.
A group of activists have already requested Ash and Kalyan Jewellers to disassociate themselves from this ad and stop its circulation too. The above image shares uncanny resemblance to many European portraits of 17th and 18th century wherein blacks would mostly be seen tending whites.
Here’s what the group of activists wrote in their open letter which was published on Scroll.in:
Dear Mrs Aishwarya Rai Bachchan,
“We write to draw your attention to a full-page advertisement for Kalyan Jewellers in which you feature that appeared in The Hindu (Delhi edition) on April 17, 2015. In the advertisement you appear to be representing aristocracy from a bygone era – bejewelled, poised and relaxing while an obviously underage slave-child, very dark and emaciated, struggles to hold an oversize umbrella over your head.
We wish to convey our dismay at the concept of this advertisement, and that you have, perhaps unthinkingly, associated with such a regressive portrayal of a child to sell a product. While advertisers routinely use fantasy images to sell products, they must surely desist from using images that condone, legitimise, normalise, or build desirable fantasy around slavery or servitude of any kind, including child slavery or child servitude. Further, the extremely fair colour of your skin (as projected in the advertisement) contrasted with the black skin of the slave-boy is obviously a deliberate “creative” juxtaposition by the advertising agency, and insidiously racist.”
While neither Aishwarya or Kalyan Jewellers have responded to this request as of now, it would be better if they did sooner than later because it doesn’t take long before a controversy hits the headlines, becomes the talk of the town and maligns a reputation that has been built with lot of hard work and efforts!