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I Just Realised That "Nani Teri Morni" Was Racist AF, And All Our Childhoods Were Messed Up

Our biases start at home, kids.

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If you grew up in India, there were some nursery rhymes and lullabies you just couldn't avoid being played around you.

Even if, like me, you didn't know their lyrics past the first stanza, they were still probably ingrained in your young minds.
Chu Chu TV

Even if, like me, you didn't know their lyrics past the first stanza, they were still probably ingrained in your young minds.

One of these popular childhood anthems just happened to be "Nani Teri Morni" – a nursery rhyme about a child informing their grandmother that she's been robbed.

It was one of those songs I never really thought about, and had safely relegated to the back of my mind. That was until recently, when I actually paid attention to the lyrics...

While the first line is fairly innocuous, the second one about the "kaale" thieves really should've prompted better discretion from the adults around us.

I looked it up, and I'm hardly the first person to point out the racist connotations of the song, or question why it needed to specify the thieves' skin colour.

It's also hardly the only instance of casual racism in pop culture that we've grown up with. Bollywood has used blackface as a comedic device for decades.

Narsimha Enterprises

More recently, India's biggest blockbuster, Baahubali, used it to portray an evil warrior tribe.

Arka Media Works

Our childhood comics marked the distinction between the saintly gods and the evil, demonic rakshasas almost exclusively through the colour of their skin.

Amar Chitra Katha

And, of course, ad campaigns have forever hammered into our impressionable minds that fair skin is essential if you want a job, get married, or achieve any kind of success in life.

Fair & Lovely

While things are slowly improving, the recent string of hate crimes and racist attacks across India proves that there are a lot of people who've internalised the prejudice we were exposed to.

Noah Seelam / AFP / Getty Images

And even if everyone doesn't take the bigotry to more extreme levels, we can see our racism on display every day around us.

Indians are a national embarrassment everywhere.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the nursery rhyme itself ends with the two thieves getting caught and brutalised by the police in prison.

Unintentional social commentary FTW.

Unintentional social commentary FTW.

There's not much to be done much about the things we grew up with, but let's just try to build a more accepting environment for the future, yeah?