A 19-year-old law student has filed a complaint in the consumer court against one of the country’s largest stationery manufacturers over a stick of wax crayon that he found racially offensive. The crayon, which is labelled ‘skin’ by the manufacturer, is a shade of pink or peach and distinctly representative of white skin.
A freshman at the National Law School of India University, Chirayu Jain, has demanded compensation of Rs.1 lakh from the manufacturer for hurting his sentiments. He also sought a payment of Rs.9 lakh to the Consumer Welfare Fund, while demanding that the company “refrain from projecting such racist ideas” through its products.
The crayon that offended Mr. Jain is manufactured by Hindustan Pencils Ltd. under the brand name ‘Colorama.’ The company, established in 1958, also manufactures such iconic brands as Nataraj and Apsara pencils.
In his complaint to the (Bangalore Urban) Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on Tuesday, Mr. Jain said, “On opening the box, I discovered that the ‘special skin crayon’ was of a shade that did not match my own skin colour. This can only be explained by the fact that the ‘special skin crayon’ which is part of the product is either defective or labelled misleadingly or both.”
He terms as “extremely insensitive and inconsiderate,” the act of the company to label one particular shade as ‘skin colour’ in a market, where a majority of the consumers have skin tones that are either dark or at least different from the shade described as ‘skin’ by the company.