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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

North Indian versus a Keralite.

If  we ask  a student of class nine studying in North India,'Where is Quillon and what language is spoken there', I can vouchsafe that  70 %  children will  not be able to answer this question. Out of  the 30% who answer the question  another half may not know which language is spoken there.Similarly  the students in South India will not be familiar with  Bhatinda or Rewari, towns of  Northern India. Leave aside children, even many adults  are unaware of  the languages spoken in many parts of the country. The people do not distinguish between Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam and Kannada. For them all are Madrasis.  I will confine myself to Kerala and the North.
                      People staying in South India  believe that people staying on  Northern side of  Vindhyas are Punjabis. Similarly  people in the North of India have a belief that every one across the Vindhya  is  a Madrasi. A  North Indian girl  told her mother that she  wanted to marry a Keralite. The mother immediately reacted"Will you marry a Madrasi?" The daughter corrected ,"No Mom, he is not a Madrasi. He is a Keralite".The mother's reply was unique, "It is one and the same".
 Regarding food habits also the  notions formed have no base. In the North I have seen that even educated people  have the impression that Idli, Dosa and Sambaar comprise the staple food.of South Indians. They don't want to agree that these items are taken for breakfast or as a snack. In the South there is a similar opinion about 'Chole Bhature'..
 An interesting thing is that in the towns and cities of North, people will not agree to let out their property to 'Punjabis'. An opinion has been formed that Punjabis are quarrelsome and they will neither give rent in time nor vacate the property  easily. They prefer a "Madrasi" because he is harmless. How such a notion has spread,  is beyond any rationale.
However they have a similar stand on one issue. They  believe that husband  is an Avtara(God)  to be placed on a higher pedestal,. Both sides are 'one 'and have a common belief in this case. They never  address their husband by his name. In Kerala women call their husbands 'Chettan', which  means brother(I do not understand the reason for addressing. )  and 'Nokoo' (Look). Punjabi women address their spouses as 'Dekho', 'Suno"  or " Pappu ke papa" and so on.   This form of addressing is slowly being replaced by the first name of the husband.
What is your experience of  mingling with the people of the two States.?

Note this post is not directed towards any particular person . No  offence  meant.




  1. *Standing up and clapping*
    I have been at the receiving end of the Madrasi comment back at my school in Noida. For them, I was forever a 'Madrasi'. I would correct them, "See, I'm a Keralite. Not all South Indians are Madrasis. There's no Madras. Only Chennai. And that is the capital of Tamil Nadu. There are other districts in TN. I'm from Kerala, the neighbouring state." And they would still call me a Madrasi :D
    Also true is the notion about Punjabis.
    I don't know whether they're really ignorant or choose ignorance over enlightenment :P

    That ' chettan' thing is really funny. I guess 'chettan' is used more out of respect for the age than for the position as such.
    "Athey","Pinney","nokoo","Ketto" :P :P

    1. Sreeja you are correct. Calling all South Indians a Madrasi is very unfair but..... ...nothing can be done.

  2. yea that's so true!! staying in Nagpur, speaking Kannada, I have never been able to successfully educate people about the difference..or like sreeja said, they don't want to make an effort to know the difference!

    1. Yes Titli. People have fixed notions and are not inclined to change them.

  3. we all are different yet very similar that's the greatness of India,but we should taught more about each others culture and traditions more in schools

    Man Of Few Words

    1. Yes cifar we should be acquainted with the rich culture of the whole country.

  4. I myself could not figure out many differences until I came down south...This is reality, a nice take :-)...

    1. Thank you Jayanta. Actually the problem is both ways, North as well as South.

  5. You must have lots of experience on the divide between the north and south Ushaji, though I'm a south Indian, my fluent Hindi and my name makes many people mistake me for a North Indian.

    1. Yes Reshma, I am familiar with the customs and the traditions of both North and South. I also thought in the beginning that you are from the North.

  6. Oh yes, such stereotypes are so common and it is so weird that they are prevalent still despite that we now live in a cosmopolitan society.

    1. Yes Shilpa you are correct. Perhaps such weird customs are carried forward from generation to generation.

  7. I liked you mentioning the terms Mallu women use to address their spouse.
    BTW matters are changing aren't they?
    This "Madrassi Log" for all on the south of the Vindhyas is quite an irritating classification

    1. Thank you Anil. I too feel annoyed when people refuse even to learn.

  8. True,many people including me are under wrong notions about food and languages( dialects at least).Chettan means any elderly male,not brother or any relation and so also chechchi-any elderly female.

    1. Thank you Sarala. This ignorance is carried forward from one generation to another.

  9. Hahah..Usha is how it is. we can't make them understand the difference until unless they come to south and stay and know by themselves. :) You are right though.

    1. Yes Latha, it is quite difficult to explain. Thanks for the comments.

  10. Totally agree.
    The recent movie ' states' also dealt with this.
    Many people are more aware now :)

  11. I am a proud malayalee in chennai managing my own business, im going to tell about the people who live outside our state. For Tamil Peoples everyone is chetta, here most of our malayalee people has own tea stall and they are well. Chetta tea is the common word in tea stalls here. my friend told me that these malayalee people are very gentle and suttle we can approach them easily for help and can talk friendly without any hesitation. I felt very proud, I also want to know how foreign people react to our malayalee people. My brother is living in saudi., i miss him very much always Im reading the Latest NRI News in Malayalam and Gulf News

  12. Divya, your logic is flawed. For one its North Indian vs keralite and not keralite vs tamilians. The 2nd, its love hate relationship between tamilians & malayalees. In the early 70's many malayalees were killed during DMK regime, something akin to shiv sena in Maharashtra. I have lived in Avadi & Chennai completing by school (Avadi, KVHVF), MCC (Tambaram) & IIT (Adyar). My sister too lives in KSA. There are good & bad people in every society. You can't stereotype them. Anyways, I like what you wrote. Thanks & regards.
    Santosh Menon (USA)

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