It has been over 22 years since I was born and still, I haven’t been able to decipher why Indians love stereotyping so much. Stereotyping people is more of a habit for we Indians. If one member of a clan does something uncanny, we Indians go on to stereotype his whole clan for doing the same thing. We Indians don’t bother cross checking or understanding anyone. We love stereotyping and we’ll keep doing it no matter what.
There are a thousand things we assume about South Indians without even trying to understand them or their culture. Just like the name given to south Indians, the whole general image of them for other fellow Indians is nothing more than a ridiculous misconception. Let us take a closer look at the most common misconceptions.
1- All South Indian are Madrasi
It has been a good 56 years since the States Reorganization Act which resulted in the states of India being organized on linguistic lines. This resulted in all of the mainstream South Indian diasporas, i.e., Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam having their own states. But sadly, even after the passage of these many years, the label of ‘Madrasi’ has not eluded.
Forget about the whole South India, even the people who live in Tamil Nadu are not all Madrasis. South India does not just have Tamil Nadu. It has Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
Clearly geography isn’t your strong suite. It doesn’t matter which state we belong to, you don’t need to acknowledge it- it’s all basically the bottom half of India.
2- South Indian always have idli and dosa
Idli happens to be very famous there but no, they don’t eat it every day. They do have rotis, puris, poha, and the continental breakfast as well. And oh, please do spare them the trauma. They do eat normal food like the normal people, you know. Do you find it strange that, South Indians try out all the cuisines and Hyderabad, Bangalore happens to be one of the very, very few metropolitans that have a wide range of restaurants with different cuisines and some unheard of? They have mojitos, cocktails, and mocktails as well. Being a South Indian does not mean they are just confined to coconut water only. I know, what a shame!
3- South Indian are either pure vegetarian or a Brahmin
South Indians do contribute to the food chain but not just as herbivores. Surrounded by coastal line of India, South Indians are always on grab for sea food.
South Indians love to have non veg food too. And Brahmins, like in any other part of India also reside in south but that does not mean that all South Indians are Brahmins.
4- South Indian always wear kanjivaram sari
It is a common belief that all South Indian man always wears a lungi with a white horizontal tilak on the forehead. No South Indian keeps wearing a Lungi all the time. It is more of a casual dress for them and nothing else. South Indians don’t attend their offices wearing a Lungi all the time.
South Indian women only wear heavy Kanjivaram sarees with a gajra(flowers) on their head and of course, the white tilak is omnipresent on their forehead too. But it’s practically impossible to wear material such as silk in the heat of coastal planes.
On a serious note, Bollywood should be charged for defaming South Indians.
5- South Indian’s English and Hindi are heavily accented
Whoever said they have a huge mother tongue influence (aka MTI) on their accent really needs a reality check. Not everyone down there has an MTI, okay? They happen to speak perfectly normal English and some of them have embraced the big daddy stages of TED Talks, INK Talks, and have reached the pinnacles of oration and stuff. And even if they have an accent, what is the big deal? The basic point here is people are able to decipher their speech and that is all that matters, isn’t it? Hello people, is anyone listening?
6- South Indians are nerd
South Indians are obsessed with Engineering! For once, you have hit the bull’s eye. They are obsessed with Engineering and it just does not end here, they are supposed to do our masters from an Ivy League university. In few cases, they do our Ph.D. from the Ivy Leagues. That is when their education is complete. But they are not nerds.
(Am I rubbing it in? Sadistic grin)
7- South Indians are dark in complexion
South Indian are dark and ugly! Say what? I mean, really? Dark and ugly? You, stereotypes could have done a lot better here. South Indians are unconventionally beautiful.
The general image of a South Indian for any other Indian will never have a fair handsome guy. Just like any other Indian state, any South Indian state too has a perfect blend of fair and dark skinned people and yes dare not visit Hyderabad if you feel that all South Indians are dark.
South Indian beauties are fair enough to steal your heart away. I mean, whatever happened to Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, Vijayanthimala, Sridevi, Hema Malini, and Rekha etc. Ironically, the world’s most beautiful woman (Once upon a time but still), Aishwarya Rai happens to be a South Indian. We really need to get over the fair-skinned-women-are-the-prettiest fad. It is high time.
8- South Indians always eat on banana leaves
Another common belief about South Indians is that they always eat on banana leaves. But this is not true! As tradition goes, banana leaves as plates is used in South India only on special occasion and they do have food in normal china and cutlery sets as everyone else.
9- South Indian begin and end their sentences with a Rajnikanth’s dialogue
We all know that Rajnikanth has a great contribution to Indian jokes but it reaches its limit when South Indians are tagged as having his photo along with other deities at their home. He is an actor that is adored and loved by many just like any other actor! But not all in South India likes Rajnikant.
On a serious note, it would be wonderful if we stop stereotyping each other and love our country instead of our regions. South India, North India, East India, West India, and phew, Central India come together to be known as India. No country is perfect, ours isn’t either. But we can leave out our petty differences behind. Isn’t it?