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 358 Articles
Student,Teacher, Father, Pharmacologist, Chess enthusiast, Blogger and Right-of-center political views