Stereotypes and other things

The post I wrote about Religion a couple of months ago is still the most read piece on my blog. It could be because it constantly appears on my “Top Posts,” which lead to other people clicking on it and keeping it in the top ones. But there are other posts which appear equally frequently but aren’t consistently read.

It shouldn’t surprise me or sadden me that religion is such a big deal. After all, I do come from a country where religion is just the way it is, not a lifestyle choice. But it still does.

Now the government plans to bring back caste into the census reports. Is it really necessary? There is no caste listed on my applications anywhere so far. My parents didn’t think it was necessary and I realised I believed the same. So why should the government force people to reveal what they do not choose to?

The reasons could vary from “I simply do not believe in it” to “I don’t think I want others to know that my ancestors belonged to the lower caste” to “My family members married people from other castes so often that I’d have to tick all the boxes on the form.” But the fact remains that there are several people who simply do not see the need to know how many people of a particular caste exist in the country.

Of course, there will always be a fuss made about religion and caste in India. After I read an article somewhere, I began noticing that it permeates our daily life. Even when you do not believe in religion or caste, our figure of speech is littered with such references.

“There is this Muslim guy on that corner who makes great kabab rolls”
“There was this Gujarti guy who used to make bangles on that street”
“There was a Nepali store on that street that sold these really funky tops”

Is this in relation to business transactions  only? Personally, sometimes, it matters which culture you come from… though the prejudice rooted against some cultures will just remain forever. Like how Jignes has  become such a stereotypical Gujju name… more of a lark. We laughed our guts out when the hottie Arjun Rampal played a Jignes in the movie Honeymoon Travels. Jignes is supposed to be pants-worn-above-your-stomach, thick-black-shelled-spectacled, oiled-not-gelled-hair, maybe a thin-mustache sporting, skinny guy. Which is also the personification of a Gujrati guy.

Like any Punjabi guy is supposed to be big, broad-shouldered, clean shaven (if he is the lead actor), or a turban-sporting dude.

South Indians, of course, are just South Indians… but being one of them… I’m going to slightly expand on this…

There are the Malayalis (fondly called Mals) – mundu (which is a piece of cloth wrapped around like a sarong) sporting, thick-mustache, a little pot belly and peppering all their words with strong “L” accents. And yeah, with a reputation to swig down as many bottles as required.

Tamilians – close cousins to Mals, hence called Tams… they sport the mundu… those those are generally folded into half to show off their gorgeous legs. Dark, sporting 3-lines of white powder on their foreheads – a testament to their devotion (also witnessed by the fact that they sing hymns in loud voices at unearthly hours) and their vegetarianism. And they also represent the entire South India in most Bollywood movies.

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