India invites 'Big Brother' contestant Jade for healing experience ...

By Prasun Sonwalkar, Indo-Asian News Service


(IANS) India has invited Jade Goody, the "Celebrity Big Brother"

contestant accused of racism against Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, to

visit the country to "experience the healing nature of India".

The invitation has been extended in an open letter published in The

Guardian and the Daily Telegraph by the India Tourism Office (ITO)

here. It has offered her a "welcoming hand". The letter is titled "To

Jade Goody and friends".

Using the "Celebrity Big Brother" furore to hardsell 'incredible'

India to western tourists, the ITO reminded Goody and other readers of

India's "bustling cosmopolitan cities", "snow-clad mountains" and "long

sandy coastlines".

The letter reads: "Dear Jade Goody. Once your current commitments

are over, may we invite you to experience the healing nature of India?

Being one of the world's oldest civilisations, our land is one where

the ancient and the modern culture co-exist and a multitude of

religions live in harmony.

"As a beauty therapist, you may be especially interested in visiting

one of the many spas where you can cleanse your stresses away, enjoy

yoga in the land that invented it and experience Ayurvedic healing,

which promotes positive health and natural beauty."

As India's tourism experts pitch into exploit the reality show's

potential, the Shilpa show has led to adverse financial returns to


While the main Carphone Warehouse withdrew its sponsorship, Goody

and fellow contestant glamour model Danielle Lloyd have lost out

lucrative contracts.

The perfume Shop, the retailer selling Goody's Shh... perfume

announced it was withdrawing the product from its shelves while Lloyd

lost a six-figure modelling contract.

Both Goody and Lloyd are among contestants accused of racism against


After Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown, Culture

secretary Tessa Jowell also intervened into the debate, and termed

Wednesday night's show as "disgusting" and deplored "racism being

presented as entertainment".

Tonight, Shilpa will go head to head with Goody in a public vote for

eviction, with the latter the favourite to go.

Last night, viewers saw Goody refer to Shilpa as "poppadom" later

explaining she wanted to use an Indian name and the only word she could

think of was an Indian food.

Meanwhile, there are reports that no promotion events have been

planned by HarperCollins, the publisher of Goody's biography, next

month. Lloyd lost a contract to be the face of motorcycle insurance

firm Bennetts.

The company said: "Bennetts is strongly opposed to any form of

racism and bullying and, in light of the accusations made against Miss

Lloyd, has taken the decision to terminate its arrangements with her

with immediate effect."

A statement issued on her behalf rejected the claims.

Charles Dunstone, the chief executive of main sponsor Carphone

Warehouse, said: "We are totally against all forms of racism and

bullying and feel that as long as this continues, we are unable to

associate our brand with the programme."

Andy Duncan, the Channel 4 chief executive, said: "The debate has

been heated, the viewing has at times been uncomfortable but, in my

view, it is unquestionably a good thing the programme has raised these

issues and provoked such a debate."

Duncan said he was "not ashamed of what was broadcast, quite the

opposite", and added that the programme, which Thursday night had 5.2

million viewers "has touched a real nerve".