Linguistically Biased: Does The Average Indian Hate Indian Regional Languages?

Have you ever been to Europe? Visited any of those countries in that part of the globe? Do you ever plan to? You know what is one of the first things you will do when you plan that trip? Let me tell you – you’ll pick up one of those books with titles like “Everyday French Phrases for The Monsieur in You” or “Don’t be a Fremde – Know your German.” Then you’ll annoy the crap out of your friends, and call them Senor and Senorita just cos Spain, bitchezzzz!

But what happens when you get placed in an IT company in say, Bangalore. After you’re done gushing about that pay package that can buy you your ticket to Europe, your next statement is going to be (and tell me I am lying), “Oh but SOUTH! Such Telugu, much Madraasi.”

Seriously, what now?

Not only that, you come in armed on a high horse that leads you to believe you are better than the rest of them. It just makes me wonder, that there are just so many languages in this country but no one, not a single person thinks any language apart from their own is good enough for anything. Not good enough to say “Show Off.” Why then do you make that titanic effort when you go abroad? Those languages are completely alien and require more time and patience to learn. Yet you do it. Are you worried about offending them by not speaking their language? But when you do it to your own countrymen, you think it’s fine? Isn’t there a flaw in the logic?

The whole country is mixing, more so than before. The borders that divide us are on maps, why are they extending to our minds? Why the double standard when it comes to what a “hot” language is versus what a “weird” language is. What you call weird is someone’s mother tongue. It’s different from yours, but it’s not “weird.” They have words for love and family just like yours does, and you know what else they have a word for? Resentment.

Resentment breeds resentment, discontent breeds discontent. Racism breeds racism. Recently, someone reported an incident where an auto driver in Maharashtra asked a lady to get down because she did not speak Marathi. That attitude does not fix anything, it only makes matters worse, because whatever his reasons, he came out looking like a villain in this scene. But where do you think lies the root of that attitude? To him, it is still his mother tongue, and he may have heard outsiders (not the lady in question necessarily) boasting about how “they never bothered to learn the language”  or he may have heard them crack jokes about how they can’t distinguish between that and other languages. To him, it is a personal insult. Sure, he will keep it bottled up for sometime. And sure, the lady did not deserve to be kicked out. But if you had guests in your house, and they repeatedly talked about how good their house and furniture is while yours is just meh in comparison, you’re gonna be polite only for so long. Then you lash out at whichever guests dare to come, from wherever. Tricky business, guests tarnishing the good name of your hospitality, isn’t it? One bad apple spoils the name of the whole bunch, eh?

You can’t stop the country or the world from growing smaller, from erasing their boundaries. In fact, it is necessary that the people move about and mix – you cannot live in a box. But when you live in a place, you either adapt or leave – hurling abuse is not cool. Just. Not. Cool. You cannot give a stink eye to their restaurants any more than you would want anyone to give a stink eye to your music. You may not be able to learn the language, but a little effort isn’t gonna bite your ass. What if Assam was in Europe? Wouldn’t you learn Assamese? Hell, you’ll serenade your girlfriend with Assamese songs till she goes, “*deep breaths* Talk regional to me!”!

No one is born a racist. Racism is taught. It is not difficult to not teach racism, just keep away the toxicity. Why would anyone want to teach negativity to their kids? Why do Indians take pride in bashing someone because they belong to a different part of the country? Parents taught you the people from the neighbourhood a few blocks down are not worth talking to? Cool. Reject the damn job offer! Or come over and see if you can take your mind out of that iron box it’s trapped in. Whatever. Just quit whining, hello, it isn’t difficult! And above all – respect.



41 thoughts on “Linguistically Biased: Does The Average Indian Hate Indian Regional Languages?

  1. CookieCrumbs Inc. September 7, 2015 / 3:16 PM

    So damn true. SO BLEDDY TRUE!!
    Come off to Bangalore and refuse to learn Kannada.
    Call South Indians madrasis and North Indians illiterate.
    Have a mind as small as a peanut. Actually even peanuts are bigger than such brains.

    BAH! I dislike us human beings. Hmph.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 7, 2015 / 3:47 PM

      Let’s hug it out, fellow misanthrope!!!
      It’s one thing to refuse to learn a language, but on top of that, you insult said language. That is just, blind stupid, unnecessary high-handedness. UGHHH!


  2. Lata Sunil September 7, 2015 / 5:50 PM

    You are so right Sreesha. But we have ourselves to blame. When we meet some new person, we automatically communicate in English even if we have a common language. Is there no pride in our own language? But the definition of pride in our country is defined by the politicians which is extreme. I really wish we were all proud of our diversity instead of trying to show superiority.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 7, 2015 / 9:51 PM

      There’s absolutely no love between us. No matter how many times people say they’re proud Indians (I’ll share my views on national pride some other day) they actually hate each other! It’s ridiculous.
      Even if strangers speak to each other in English when they first meet, or any other language for that matter, neither of them has the right to insult the other’s mother tongue.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lata Sunil September 7, 2015 / 10:33 PM


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Vinitha September 8, 2015 / 2:40 AM

    Rightly said, Sreesha. Insulting someone else’s mother tongue is absolutely outrageous.


    • Sreesha Diva September 8, 2015 / 10:48 AM

      Yes, especially if you are living in a land where said language is spoken.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Arpitha Holla September 8, 2015 / 10:40 AM

    So true. I have had the opportunity to meet both kinds of people. Those who want to learn our language and those who said things like “Why do I have to learn this language when I can manage in hindi and english.” and also a lot of bad things about kannada films, politicians, people and cuisine.
    That was a very good point you made about people trying to learn European languages when going to europe and not trying to learn the native Indian language even after settling in the said place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 8, 2015 / 10:53 AM

      Even I have had the opportunity to meet both kinds of people. I have a lot of respect for the former kind. I was also an outsider to this city once, but I consider it my home now, and it’s only fair that I respect my home. I hate it when someone makes disparaging remarks, because think about all the cities in India, this is one of the happiest, safest and most welcoming.
      The trouble is, if we point it out, we are branded a racist. How paradoxical!


  5. Destination Infinity September 8, 2015 / 10:45 AM

    Oh my, although people speak in English on job, there is still a high degree of attachment to Tamil here. An outsider, if they live for an elongated period in TN, will have to learn the language because there is not much of an option. Although that is changing, now. In Bangalore, I have found, they can communicate (although not fluently) in almost 5 languages — no wonder it’s a cosmopolitan city.

    But I should say that I don’t like the attitude of Europeans not wanting to talk in English, although most of them know it. They can at least talk in English to people who cannot understand French or German, no? Many there won’t.

    Destination Infinity

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 8, 2015 / 10:56 AM

      There is nothing wrong in having an attachment to Tamil or any language. They should be welcoming of outsiders, but at the same time, the outsiders should not assert their authority and force the natives to change. If the outsiders want to be welcomed, they should respect the people. They cannot insult the natives and pretend they’re better. Nobody is better than anybody, and respect works both ways.
      Same is with the Japanese, and many other countries. They love their language and take pride in it. When in Rome, as they say… 🙂


  6. Eli Ert September 9, 2015 / 1:44 PM

    Wow, that was a very interesting read. I think the longer I lived in India, the more I realized what a continent it is – so many different languages, cultures etc… I remember I proudly learned some words in hindi- and talked to my colleagues in Mumbai … but yes, they spoke Marathi…:-) So many speak well English though, and the same here in Europe too. You can manage well with English, unless you run into some stubborn French or Germans… Hahaha. Really enjoyed reading this:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 9, 2015 / 3:27 PM

      Haha, see, that’s what I am talking about. It’s always useful (for yourself) and nice (to the natives) when you go to a new place and speak the native language, isn’t it!


  7. nabanita September 9, 2015 / 3:18 PM

    You I was just talking about how fake we Indians are..going ga ga about Syrian refugees while we can’t tolerate people from different states within our own country…

    I’m a Bengali who grew up in Shillong, studied engineering in UP and now am working in Bangalore…Now, do you know which language I’m most comfortable in? It’s English and in a way I thank my school for that..I think not getting caught up in ones own mother tongue or ones regional culture helps one to widen ones perspective and not be racist as you rightly said most of us are..I have seen all kinds of people, people who know nothing about the country apart from their own region and thus make fun of those different..Have you seen how we treat ‘outsiders from other states’ in our own states? Or, how we go an behave in other states…? When will we learn that it’s one country!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 9, 2015 / 3:30 PM

      I know! I am a Mallu who grew up in 4 different states, and now work in a fifth one! I think it’s the ones like us, that are so used to adapting to different places, and making our homes there that really notice the hypocrisy and racism so prevalent in India. The others are too comfortable in their zone that when they move to a new place, they just can’t help but be mean. Pathetic!


  8. Shalzzz September 9, 2015 / 6:27 PM

    So true!…. so D@#n true!!! Been there, heard that! South Indians are Madrasis, North Indians are Dal Chawal! God, such a pathetic situation! Beautifully expressed write!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 10, 2015 / 9:15 AM

      And all these anti-regional sentiments come out when you’re living in the region you’re abusing! *Irony explodes*

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Archana Kapoor September 9, 2015 / 6:35 PM

    That’s a wonderful and honest expression Sreesha. I remember a couple of decades back I survived in France only because I spoke French fluently, else I would have been in deep shit… because the French dont speak english even if they know and understand it… in fact they refuse to help u… and that really sucks!!
    Sharing the post, girl 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 10, 2015 / 9:17 AM

      Haha, and yet we make efforts to learn their language, but turn our nose up at other languages from our own country.
      Glad you liked it and thanks for the share 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Archana Kapoor September 10, 2015 / 6:33 PM

      Well, my learning french was for the love of languages… just like I learnt to speak a lot of other Indian languages too apart from my mother tongue – Hindi…
      But yes, there are people who go out of their way to learn some phrases before they travel… good for them though….
      sad they don’t do it for Indian languages… 🙂
      Pleasure my dear 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Rajlakshmi September 9, 2015 / 7:18 PM

    Languages are beautiful… I find them extremely fascinating… it’s people who destroy them, by their superiority, by adding racist adage. Just one remark is enough to start a war of regions, specially on online forums where hatred is spewed without a second thought. Respect is hard to come by, but we can do our part by respecting others.
    This is an extremely well written article, you handled the topic so delicately and with so much understanding. A must read for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 10, 2015 / 9:18 AM

      Thank you so much, Rajlakshmi 🙂
      I am fascinated by languages too, but I find some extremely difficult to learn. But we must at least make an effort. I will not go to a part of the country and tell them, “Hey I don’t like your language, so you better speak in mine.” That’s… stupid and disrespectful!


  11. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder September 10, 2015 / 3:22 AM

    Very true words, Sreesha. Leave other languages, these days Indians find it insulting enough to speak in their mother tongue! In every shopping mall of Kolkata, you’ll find millions of Bengalis communication with each other in English. I fail to understand what’s the problem with these people and, as they don’t respect and love their own language, they don’t have any such thing for other ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 10, 2015 / 9:35 AM

      Oh yes, Maniparna, that was also a point I wanted to add in this post. But I missed out, mainly cos I was focusing on Indians (largely) hurling abuses at languages other than their own, that too after living in places where the said language is spoken. To get specific, of late there have been so many incidents of people living in Bangalore abusing Kannada (the language, the food, everything) left, right and centre. Someone might say it needn’t bother me, since I was once an outsider myself. But it did. The attitude is just pathetic!
      I totally agree with what you said. Even I grew up outside Kerala; my brother and I learned how to read Malayalam by ourselves, but I know plenty of people who wouldn’t bother, instead would take pride in the fact that they can’t read/speak.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder September 11, 2015 / 1:12 AM

      Exactly, people are so insouciant about their own culture, literature and language. Truly it has now become a matter of great pride if someone fails to speak/read (can’t even think of writing) her/his mother tongue​ fluently. I don’t know where we are heading to…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. himanju23 September 10, 2015 / 8:52 AM

    So true Shreesha! During my last visit to a supermarket, I noticed a women speaking in English with some weird kind of accent with another lady. That lady was not even able to understand but still that accent lady was busy with her accent only.. Lol..

    ” See bhaiya ji I am not able to find a nariyal ka gola in your itni badi dukan” 😉


    • Sreesha Diva September 10, 2015 / 9:35 AM

      Haahahaha that cracked me up!


    • Sreesha Diva September 10, 2015 / 1:41 PM

      It is. Nobody wants to bring in regionalism if you want to bring in patriotism, but when you’re on the receiving end (I, as a south Indian, have been there) it is only so long that you can not speak about. And speaking about it is again considered racism. So it’s a vicious cycle, see.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Beat About The Book September 11, 2015 / 1:11 PM

    Uff couldn’t agree more! What’s worse this racism isn’t confined to states – people in Mumbai consider themselves better than those in Pune or Delhi. A Punekar thinks he’s more cultured than someone from Mumbai and so on… Rather sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 13, 2015 / 11:00 PM

      Yes! That’s the painful truth. It seems ridiculous to hate someone based on where they were born – you don’t decide where you’re born so where is this pride coming from!


  14. Sid Balachandran September 11, 2015 / 4:07 PM

    I think the average Indian hates everything that isn’t his. Or hers. Mostly his 🙂 We are regionalistically racist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 13, 2015 / 11:00 PM

      The average Indian needs to loosen up!


  15. Beloo Mehra September 11, 2015 / 4:41 PM

    We have such a negative view about our Indian languages because we have such a negative view about ourselves, our culture, our heritage, our everything. This inferiority complex is there because in our minds we are still slaves to the “modern West”. We cry our throats out for Charlie Hebdo but we fail to see similar or even worse curbs on freedom of expression in our backyard. Our hearts bleed for one Syrian refugee boy, but we can’t see the millions Kashmiri Pandits displaced in our own country. I can go on and on with examples, but the point is that this Indian-language bias is a symptom of much larger and deeper problem with Indian psyche. Until we are able to throw off this yoke of mental slavery, there is no hope really!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva September 13, 2015 / 11:02 PM

      Call it wishful thinking but I often imagine someday there will be a harmonious world where there is no discrimination!
      It is not just about aping the west, Indians can’t see eye to eye even with each other. Sad, really.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Beloo Mehra September 14, 2015 / 8:21 AM

      I am with you all in such wishful thinking 🙂 I rather hope fervently. It must happen.


    • Sreesha Diva September 14, 2015 / 2:05 PM

      Thanks for reading, Sweta. Welcome to my blog. Keep visiting 🙂


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