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
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
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
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".