65 years and yet . . . The North South Divide

Why do you separate as North Indian and South Indian, we all are Indians and there is no much difference between us.

Exactly why North Indians and South Indians love to look down upon each other is beyond me, and the collective society at large. It may have something to do with hackneyed stereotypes that have, courtesy being reiterated and reinforced over time, distorted people’s perception of the other side to a most twisted extent.

This divide is by no way a new trend; it goes way back in time. The language barrier, unique customs and limited interstate migration resulted in a lack of understanding about each other which in turn was the genesis of these prominent of divisions. South Indians were perceived to be conservative, ugly and detached by their “countrymen” up North while the Southern “brothers” thought the “Northies” were flamboyant, immoral and were not as blessed in the grey area department.

It is understandable when people who aren’t educated and who haven’t traveled enough develop such perceptions over the years.  The disturbing fact is that a lot of educated folks also have similar beliefs, in spite of being a nation that together celebrated the World Cup victory.

Why do you separate as North Indian and South Indian, we all are Indians and there is no much difference between us.

A lot of it has also to do with the kind of upbringing one has; parents play a very important role in shaping the child’s thinking process. If a child is raised in a household which has strong communal and regional tendencies, more often than not, the child grows up to have similar beliefs. So it is important that one makes their judgements based on facts and not prejudice.

Why am I suddenly writing on this issue? Shouldn’t I be focusing on the upcoming Independence day celebrations rather? Well, to decide whether we are truly Independent or Free, we should be clear on what this freedom is!  But the real issue that brought this discussion in focus was an interaction on our Facebook page, which was not happening for the first time, that made me wonder, why this prejudice exists in the first place?

The interaction or accusation by one of our Facebook page fans was that the blog is managed by a Northy and hence all the updates and articles were biased against the local populace. Further, she threatened to report it to local people who would take the necessary action. The total disregard for the opinions of others and for the relevant facts of this one person spoilt the discussion of a burning topic for the entire community.

Here are some typical rants by the people concerned:

(1) North Indians hate South Indians, consider us inferior:

From my personal experience (I’m a Konkani speaking person, born in Karnataka, raised in Hyderabad, schooled in Mumbai, stayed in Delhi for a period and came down to Belgaum, Goa and finally Manipal), I’ve found that the South Indian community flourishes all over the country, and Delhi is  a particular hotbed! A section of Tamilians and Keralites are forming backbone of Medical Technologists/Technicians group in Delhi. No one bothers them, they are living happily. All Delhites consider them a close-knit, law-abiding community. Unlike  politicians in Karnataka and Maharashtra, no political party here has on agenda, plans to segregate or harass them, or otherwise consider that they are ‘threat’ to North Indian culture.

(2) North Indians hate  South Indian food:

The fact is that actually, North Indians cannot resist the South Indian cuisine! Not a single restaurant here exists that doesn’t have Utthapam and Dosa/sambar on its menu.  When we were in Delhi and in Mumbai as well, our North Indian neighbours would often drop in in the mornings for breakfast, lunch and leave after Dinner. They would pester my mom for tips on how to cook delicious Dosas/Idlis and Pongal.
(3) North Indians think they are superior, consider South Indians ugly:

Very untrue, that Hema Malini, Vyjayanthi Mala, Sridevi, Shilpa Shetty, Aishwarya Rai etc.. (these are the few that come to mind) are so much loved and adored in the North should be enough to bust this myth. The fact that most of the people working in the fields of Medicine, Construction and Education in the Northern states are from the South has proven that the people are willing to accept the good from other places as well.  Of course some prejudices run deep and there are some tensions once in a while, but then that is to be expected due to the language barrier that may still exist.
(4) North Indians rule over South Indians bureaucratically:

India is sovereign state, clear division of powers b/w states and center. First look at Armed forces, a decent number of officers are from south. And then we had our very own Sleeping Prime Minister, H.D.Deve Gowda and the many South Indian presidents!
(5) North Indians don’t learn our language but want us to learn theirs:

It is our politicians who make us think so, no one from Kashmir complains that Hindi is being taught there. So is with Punjab and Himachal. Periyar wanted to rule so he created Aryan Dravidan theory with Brahminical Supremacy added, though there is no scientific/genetic evidence of Aryan-Dravidan divide. The many North Indian friends I’ve made want to learn our language,  inf act many of them have learnt it watching our movies.

It is actually the other way round in most of the places I’ve been to. The Tamilians refuse to converse in a language other than Tamil, the Malayalis refuse to speak in a language other than Malayalam, and this despite the fact that they know other languages!

When I was in medical school in Belgaum, one of the seniors, while we were having lunch together, chastised me for speaking in Hindi, even though I was a kannadiga! This was the first instance I was made aware of this particular scenario of the language and the north-south divide.

To all who still have these prejudices, Grow up, this is 21st century, an era of cultural assimilation. No one cares if Hindi speakers grow or fall short. In fact Hindi is fast deriving words from other languages like Tamil, no one is bothered a bit about that. Break walls and let these unprecedented fears out of your mind.

Let India Unite!

About Vishaal Bhat 331 Articles
Student,Teacher, Father, Pharmacologist, Chess enthusiast, Blogger and Right-of-center political views
  • Steve Bakewell

    “Why do you separate as North Indian and South Indian, we all are Indians and there is no much difference between us.”

    OH YEAH? where was this feeling when tamils were crying to fan UN vote against lanka?

    You all northies prance around like jolly monkeys when it comes to being all “Patriotic” but when actual problem arrives you ppl show your true colors! i hope to GOD that Tamil nadu becomes completely self-sufficient and developed one day and demands of secession! and NEVER EVER trust backstabbing north indians!

    It would be idiotic of us tamils if we still thought that north indians actually cared about us.

  • sneha hukmani

    I agree with you whole-heartedly!! And it is not just about north and south.. Regionalism can be a very bad thing and i have witnessed it at every point in life.. Being a sindhi, and having grown up in maharashtra, there were always times i was made to feel that i didnt belong.. Now i live in a predominantly gujrati community, and since i dont speak the language, im facing the same difficulties..
    The only place i felt accepted in fact, was in mangalore while studying in MCODS.

  • abby

    i’ve lived here in karnataka for almost two years now and i can easily say that people here are more organized and much more civilized than the north and even local people are much more polite and smart enough in their daily dealings.
    North especially U.P is one big mess overflowing with people.
    South feels much better.

  • abby

    north indians are actually more racist than say Australians or people from U.K for that matter.

  • abby

    when people from the north call south Indians ugly then i have to agree its wrong on their part and it totally doesn’t make any sense.

    Have you ever considered the fact that north Indians are racist people.

    You hate a person cuz he or she is black or has a dark complexion and then you term them ‘ugly south Indians’ makes you even more racist than the Australians who attack indians in Australia apparently for being coloured or foreign

  • abby

    you wanna talk about the divide among north Indians and south Indians well then you should know that people from andhra pradesh(neighbouring state of Karnataka talk in hindi with the shopkeepers and other localities since they don’t know how to speak kanada even though they too are south indians
    Its simple if people refuse to talk in any other language other than their own then there is always going to be a divide even among people from the same region

  • itz

    it actually exists. Could I ask how many N.Indians learn Kannada when at Karnataka, Marathi n MH and Gujrati n Guj. Less than 10%. S.Indians may speak in mother-tongue but always make an effort to learn d language. Irrespective of its large population, how may S.Indians are there in Delhi legislative assembly and 3 municipal corporations in delhi. S.Indians must learn Hindi but N.Indians must learn a non-hindi one. Had it not been MH, GJ, KA, TN, AP, KL n GA, India would have been the poorest nation on earth for they make up 65 pc of India’s economy, still don get the due they deserve. Y delhi which pays lesser taxes is pampered by centre when whole of NEIndia n Biharl need the money the most. Non Hindi states will manage on their own, at least for the time being. 

  • prasannaragh

    it has to do a lot with our upbringing true. If our education is properly  channeled it can be resolved. Then only we can feel ourselves to a nation

    •  Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. Nation building begins at home, schooling aids in the same 🙂

  • Indiaviolet

    Unfortunately can’t deny the facts you have laid out – something needs to change – we hope that it should get better as time passes on.

    India Violet

  • Ajith Fredjeev Dinakarlal

    South Indians are ugly(?)! Must be someone really beautiful said that. Considering that to be true for a moment, I wonder how anything can be beautiful and still remain so if it sees (and constantly sees and just sees) the ugliness in another? Common dissent and hate is what strengthens us as groups and lets blame it on progressive evolution that makes this discrimination necessary for us to survive… Fredjeev

    •  @google-efe84ff882f5d579f8c7105cea039641:disqus : Just highlighting common misconceptions we South Indians have regarding what North Indians think of us. What I wanted to highlight is that even in the current environment when we have access to the cultures of others, our prejudices still run deep.

      We need to over come this if the country has to progress and develop into a well oiled machine.

  • Thank you Dr.Vishal Bhat for the amazing blog. Unfortunately, whatever u have mentioned is so true.And its beyond me as well like others. I thank God everyday for the amazing friends I have from Manipal from all over the country as well as outside. We were all like a small family and we hope to be always like that. Being from UP myself, so many of my best of friends are from South India, Punjab, Middle east, US and am proud of that. Unfortunately, I have seen ample amount of regionalism in the student crowd of Manipal too! And it was just cos of sheer ignorance. Its sad that we don’t appreciate each others cultures and qualities, instead we try and find out points to keep us separated and different. All the places have all kind of people.But if we GENERALISE, tats SAD! Life would be a big party if we stand together and enjoy each others differences, rather than creating a fuss about it. I hope, all of us, give this a thought with a positive outlook!

    •  @facebook-552436045:disqus : Good thoughts. nice to know that there are many like minded individuals. Regionalism like Casteism is something that needs to be eradicated from our minds for proper growth of the populace and the country as a whole.

  •       With all due respect, there is never smoke without fire. There are a fair share of miscreants in both the communities who are responsible for the disharmony. I’ve been in Manipal for more than 5 years now and i’ve known people on either side. The people up from the North should learn to overcome the definite ignorance that lingers regarding South Indians and the South Indians should definitely try and mingle more and not stick to their own regional groups. These I think are the 2 important causal factors.
        Leaving the few idiots on both sides and the other silly issues aside, I think Manipal is a sterling example of co-existence. There is no other place in India i’m sure where people from such different backgrounds cutting across regions, race, countries and religion live with such a sense of togetherness.
       

    •  @facebook-587516755:disqus That’s exactly the point of the article. as I’ve mentioned, when one is ignorant of the local customs, its is but obvious that one will be prejudiced! Only when we try to get along and try to understand the traditions and cultures of the locals/visitors, do we realise that we are not much different. We’re just human beings brought up in different environs.

  • Yup, agree with the language part. Had a very bitter experience in TN. An absolute refusal to converse or even put up signboards in any other language. We need to set our affairs in order before blaming the ‘Northies’

    •  It’s not just in South India @twitter-57922784:disqus . this is quiet common in the North as well. Just a little of common sense will go a long way in setting these things right.

  • Very wisely expressed… I wonder why people cannot look at each other as a human being other than which part they belong to. One should be judged individually and not geographically, if at all they need to be judged! Sickening attitude of generalizing social behaviours.

    •  Thanks @facebook-100000213097887:disqus . The attitudes and outlook needs to change across the board. Being educated helps and traveling will further broaden the horizon. The presence of social media helps too!