North-y vs. South-y: In India, why this difference-y?

At school, our teachers work hard on inculcating patriotic and nationalistic values within us. We are taught on how diversified this nation is and we stand proud to call ourselves as Indians; rich in varied culture and heritage, yet one as a nation. But, once we are out of the school’s cocoon, we meet people hailing from different regions, following dissimilar lifestyles, eating the same ingredients, but cooked in a different style; and then we start to segregate ourselves into states, regions and ethnic groups. One can feel the depth of this division when people are adamant about renting their houses to someone of a particular region or religion, when people are cynical on staying with others coming from a different plateau, when someone hates to hear a language which is not their mother-tongue or when one does not like to hang out with a person from a unalike zone; sprouting regionalistic attitudes in our adolescence. Is it so difficult to mingle with an entity, who may have slightly altered DNA pattern, but is still of the same species and most importantly of the same nation?

Leaping backwards by few thousands of years – Based on ancient (I prefer to call them stupid and idiotic!) theorists, the human race is broadly divided into 5 categories – Australoid, Mongoloid, Negroid, Capoid and Caucasoid – based on the cranial structure, skin colour and physical characteristics. The former three names are self-explanatory; Capoids (after ‘Cape of Good Hope’) are almost similar to Negroids, except for their hair colour and few other physical variations; the Caucasians (definitely this has nothing to do with any of the male body parts) include white-toned people from Europe, the Middle-East and Northern parts of Africa. Coming to India, we categorize the population into Aryans (Indo-European) and Dravidians; but these are just sub-types of the above five. As per theories, the early wanderers, mostly of the Caucasian ancestry, brought with them white-toned humans to India and hence we see that most of the Indians in the north are fairer than their southern counterparts. Climatically speaking, the upper part of the country lies beyond the Tropic of Cancer and since the sun is less frenzy on that part of the planet, we can attribute this to their skin tone. As per bookish statistics, Caucasian people were mostly mountain-clad people who stayed in cold climates; they were well-built and engaged themselves in strenuous wars; they feasted on good amount of carnivorous food to keep them warm and they were white-toned due to the climatic effect. Since the Caucasians made their way into India, their characteristics can be seen flowing into the higher ranges of India, towards the Himalayas, esp. Jammu and Kashmir. A small gist as to why the two regions are different in their complexions.

Years passing by, India had a huge Hindu-following population; they worshipped their cattle and fed on plants; Sanskrit and Pali were well-spoken languages. In a slightly modern world, looking at the wealth that India possessed, kingdoms from Persia, Afghan and Mongolia kept constantly attacking the northern part of current India, bringing in a touch of Arabic and Mongolian influence in the lifestyles of the people at that region. Islam was also a part of this penetration. No wonder that Hindi is a mixture of Sanskrit and Urdu. People started eating meat and they enjoyed feasting on the Mughal’s delicacies. Constant infiltration forced a majority of the Hindus to move towards the southern part of the Indian peninsula, best known as the Deccan Plateau. Some of them preferred to stay back and let their lives continue as it was; hence Hindus staying in the northern parts are allowed to feast on poultry and fat, with chicken being the favourite among Kashmiris, Punjabis and Rajasthanis. The southern Hindus maintained strict abstinence from consuming anything that moves. Since people from the north flaunt Caucasian characteristics, they are much fairer, well-built and involve in activities like sports, machinery, mining, construction and industries. They encourage entrepreneurship and most of them own their outlets. On the other hand, the flock from the south consider mentally strenuous jobs and are mostly involved in occupations like technology, art, dance and music. Here, most of the people believe in educating and training their children right from the tender age. No argument that most of the people of the country right from the east, west and north flock to the south for a course of their choice. But this is slightly changing as the north is also taking interest in their learning; with some of the best colleges and universities established in their backyards too. But remember, some of the Hindus stayed in North after the invasions; educational ventures is an attribute of these people. Briefly speaking on the other races – The eastern part of India resembles the Mongoloids, Andaman and Nicobar are included into Australoids; rarely do we see any Capoids’ or Negroids’ mention in any part of the Indian history. Traders and missionaries from Europe bought some of their Christian-Caucasian folks into India. This is the basic ideology on how the people of India are widely spread and have different attributes – be it in terms of physical, mental, facial or tonal characteristics.

When we are such a diverse clan of Homo-sapiens living in one land, there is absolutely no need to allocate sub-types, as Aryans and Dravidians, dividing the nation into two halves. In a nutshell, we can observe a definite pattern – the North Indians cannot tolerate South Indians and the vice-versa holds true too. But, why isn’t there no mention about the West Indians or the East Indians? Are we forgetting that any map would have four sides? When we can’t segregate or distinguish between the East and the West, why do we have to do it for the North and the South?

In modern India, the perspective of a person is that every man of the South would wear a lungi; every woman would pat her long hair with a bottle of oil and clad it with rich scented jasmines and her attire would include a long skirt and a matching blouse; people prefer only rice, curd or coconut for their meals or it would be substituted for rice preparations like Idli, Dosa and Wada, accompanied by coconut condiments. Similarly, every North Indian is considered to know nothing but Bhangra; they eat only Rajma, Chole, Aloo and Paneer and a woman is always pictured wearing a Salwar-Kameez; people speak Hindi and consider it as a national language.

As quoted in a blog – ‘South and North are directions; they don’t cover the entire meadows’. Hence, we need to be a bit logical with our thoughts. Every North Indian may not prefer only Rajma or Chole; Daal Bhaati, Fish and Chicken items, Momos and Bengali preparations are famous too. In the Deccan Plateau, the region wise food varies too, with people in Tamil Nadu preferring something else than people in Karnataka. To state a fact – people of North and South Karnataka have totally different palates; the higher regions consider Jowar, Ragi (Millet) and Bajra as a staple, rice is common in the lower regions of the Deccan. The reason why people in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh consider Rajma, Chole or other dried pulses attributes again to the climatic conditions; the regions are hilly and a bit dry to the West; dry pulses, having a longer shelf-life but high in protein content, are mostly consumed. Wheat is mostly preferred, as once cooked it could stay easily for a couple of days for consumption. In the South, due to the higher temperatures, they prefer eating spicy food, with or without curd (for cooling purposes), which would make them sweat and the cooling effect of perspiration would normalize their body temperatures. One more fact – People from North Karnataka eat the spiciest meals, but the Southerners prefer lesser or milder versions. Since the coastal regions are favourable for coconut plantations, they use it very sumptuously in their cooking. When you can use coconut oil in your cooking, a Bengali’s mustard oil dishes shouldn’t surprise you at all! To sum it up: when we hate the other region so much, why do we celebrate birthdays, parties or anniversaries at North Indian outlets or at any of those Udupi outlets? Would it not be so easy to find a mess or a hotel that serves local food and we make our weekend reservations there? No. Instead we have to go to the restaurant that serves a delicacy of the opposite pole. Then why the clauses of sharing rooms with people who only eat spicier or who only prefer less spicy food? Can’t we cook it in one way and then adjust the taste as per our requirements?

Some say that people coming from the North are a bit arrogant and are proud of their colour and lifestyles. On a completely different tangent, some consider the South to be reserved, who never open up. Looking at both perspectives, since I have interacted and stayed with both, I can conclude that there is definitely a communication gap. There is nothing to do with colour, money or lifestyle, as we can find all types of people in both regions; all that matters is what you speak. While Hindi is the most spoken language near the Himalayas, apart from Bengali, Sindhi, Marwari, etc. , even though the grammar and dialects of Hindi differ from region to region, every region can catch the meaning of most of the words. At South, there are 4 main languages – Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil; all of which have a slight difference in meanings and words. One speaking in other can never catch the meaning of most of the words. Hindi is the national language for the North. But, people at South don’t want to communicate or even learn Hindi; they feel that they are being overpowered and that their cultural mother-tongues may drift away from them. Due to this, India has never had a national language. Just because the central government has laid some rules, the schools at South have Hindi as an optional second or third language; students do not opt for it. One reason I could find out was that they choose Sanskrit for the optional course, as they could score more in that language during exams. The only concern in South is making Hindi the official language. A secular Indian would never want to hurt regional sentiments; keeping this in mind, with the added concept that we have an International spoken language at hand, why not end this Hindi’s love-hate relationship and have English as the national language? Any modern school would have English as the first language and every child, sooner or later, has to communicate in English. Then why not use it as the means of communication in our nation too?

Irrespective of the native land – When one can hold hands and celebrate a Diwali-like fervour, when an Indian batsman scores a six to a Pakistani’s ball, why can’t we sit together and enjoy a Rajni or a Salman flick? Why can’t we have the same enthusiasm while listening to Carnatic music at the same time lift our hands up to a Bhangra number? When we can enjoy listening to a Mallu’s English and Laloo’s Bihari accent, then why do we have the Vindhyas or the Tropic of Cancer dividing us? When we can order Hyderabadi biryani, can’t we ever give a try to Lucknowi biryani or Kashmiri Pulav too? Yes, there a few flaws we can work on – People eating with their hands can reduce the mashing and squashing and can enjoy their food while still maintaining it below the second bone of their fingers. When you want to mix that curd, don’t mix a splash of water too. That would be a welcome and then you would be sitting on the same table where people enjoy their Macher-Jhol and Chole Batture. While communicating, if we can omit the ‘E’ sound before every ‘S’ and stop pronouncing ‘School’ as ‘E-School’, then we would be speaking to a Tam-Brahm with the same love. People can curdle the same curd used in Andhra and make some Mishti-Dohi for our Bengali brothers. Damn those British Indians who have made the world believe that Indian cuisine is restricted to Butter Chicken and Naan. Damn those US migrants who have made the world think that we can code their software for a meagre salary. Instead, we can reach out to the world and show them how diverse our culture is and how skilled we are on all aspects.  Respect and acceptance go hand-in-hand. We can behave as humans, shrug off any attitude and lovingly do things which are mutually exclusive of both the regions – This way, we would be learning each other’s culture, imbibing respect for each region and their lifestyle, yet trying to keep one’s torch flaming high. Not an N-tagged one or an S-tagged one, but a one which has only one word – INDIAN!

With this in mind, and helping our Shahrukh bhai earn a few bucks, let us all sing together –
Kashmir main, tu Kanyakumari
North-South ki kat gayi dekho doori hi saari
Kashmir tu, main kanyakumari
Fifty-fifty har situation mein hissedari

Ek taraf to jhagda hai, saath phir bhi tagda hai
Do kadam chalte hain to lagta hai aath hain
Do tarah ke flavour, sau tarah ke tevar
Dar-badar firtein hain ji phir bhi apni thaath hai

Kashmir main, tu Kanyakumari
Uttar ne dakshin ko aflatoon aankh maari 😉
Kashmir tu, main Kanyakumari
Tel bechne jaaye toh phir yeh duniya saari.. Hey!

The Blabbering Guy,

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  1. Good one man. First when i looked at the article length i was afraid, its too long, But i never get bored, good narration, with valid points and facts accepted by both northy and southy.(although i can’t read from northy perspective) . Overall good, keep writing article like this.

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