How often have you heard a relative advise your mother to apply some besan on your face. Apparently, it will lighten your skin and therefore make you look beautiful. If your complexion is not so fair, you've probably been made to believe that only fair is beautiful.
Thankfully, many people have been trying to rid our society of this idea.The latest effort comes from a group of young women setting the record straight on skin colour and beauty.
"I know what true beauty is and..it looks like this," says a girl in a video that is trying to break the stereotypes on complexion and beauty.
Sidhant Mehra and Indraneel Lahiri along with the co-founder of the NGO Kranti, Robin Chaurasiya, have made a video featuring four young actors who are studying at Kranti.
Kranti helps girls from Mumbai's red-light areas get an education and become agents of social change.
In the video, the four children explain the idea of loving yourself and embracing your skin colour.
Taking a dig at some of the big brands selling skin lightening products, the girls say that while the brands can hold on to their "dis-colouring creams" brand and play with people's mind, they will hold on to their colour.
"We decided to make the film with these girls because they are this extraordinary bunch," said Mehra.
"You won't find a group of kids who are more socially aware and so confident. They have seen the absolute worst and the best," he told HuffPost India.
These four girls have travelled across countries and have written and performed a play titled, Lal Batti Express, for audiences in India and the United States.
Mehra said that some of these young women also want to be actors.
Their message is simple. Empowerment.
They are not trying to influence corporations who benefit from "intensifying India's unhealthy skin clour neuroses." Instead, they want the consumers of those products to stand up to the corrosive legacy of skin colour preference, with "both their voices and their wallets."