Her Dad was Indian and her mother a Negro.
What she says softly….
They called her Dougla at the marketplace.
It meant no harm, was all in jest,
But we understood better.
Communities fixated on the purity of race
Obdurate in their refusal to accept
The dynamics of kneading flour with water
An agglomeration of gluten
For our daily bread
And our sustenance.
Her friend, with a Buck man for a father,
A dougla mother,
They called her a cook up,
Made us chuckle over tea
Lovely when rooted in sustenance.
It is unfashionable to speak ‘Mulatto’
I hear, it is also unfashionable to be Negro.
And all the anthropologically negroid Indians
Use fair and lovely to hide their wheatish complexions,
As they exhibit themselves on
The matrimonial columns of the Times of India.
Our vocabulary has skewed our perceptions
Or perhaps vice versa….
Until we discovered there were unwritten rules
For cessation of union across race.
It didn’t seem funny then.
*Dougla is the term used to describe offspring of Indian and Black parents. The Bhojpuri origin of the word is highly offensive in India.
Buck man is a term used to describe an Amerindian male. It is considered derogatory in Guyana.
Cook up is rice and meat cooked together with spices.
Fair and lovely is a cosmetic cream promoted in India for its skin lightening properties and young women are exhorted to use it; to look fair skinned enough, for matrimonial eligibility.