Let's face it. We've been rocking at this "unity in diversity" thing even before Chetan Bhagat and Two States came along. We've all stolen paranthas from our Punjabi friend's tiffin and we swear by the filter coffee that our Southy friends bring back from their visits back home. Durga Pujas and Navratras have always been our pet excuses to go on shopping sprees and come out decked in finery, and then, there are the hundreds of kinds of weddings.
Despite that, we choose to forget the beauty of unique differences among people. We're all guilty of trying to make our lives simpler by grouping communities into easily identifiable stereotypes. These stereotypes are oversimplified, nasty, offensive and more often than not, entirely baseless fabrications of an ignorant mind.
Here are just a few such stereotypes and why they are entirely untrue.
Most people would argue that being called "intelligent" is a perfectly good compliment. However, sometimes we don't even realize how irritating and offensive seemingly harmless labels can be. A lot of Bengalis for example are vegetarians, hate sweets and haven't even been to Kolkata in the longest time ever!
We've had a large number of Gujarati characters entertain us in the past few years, thanks to Ekta Kapoor's famous mass-produced joint-family tear-jerker scheme. Khichdi has had many of us ROFLing through the years and a whole lot of us continue to enjoy Tarak Mehta ka Ulta Chashma . But it's time we moved beyond the garba and dhokla. There's a lot more to them that just that!
First of all, not all Punjabis are Sikhs. Secondly, not all Sikhs wear pagdi s. Thirdly, we can't get over the logic of trying to define intellect (or the lack of it) by communities. WTF is up with that?
So apparently all Goans are lazy and laidback. Again, how exactly does staying in a specific region make people lazy or productive? Goa has one of the highest economic growth rates in India. Just saying.
Businessmen. All Marwaris are money minded businessmen. Let's just pretend that Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ritu Dalmia, S. N. Goenka and all the others never happened. Also, business has absolutely no role to play in the development of the country. Right?
Another Ekta Kapoor favourite.
7. South Indians
Of course. There is no such thing as states in Southern India. There is only Madras. Why bother understanding the amazing variety in culture, cuisine and geography when we can just be blind to it all?
8. Likewise, North Easterns
They look the same to you, so they come from the same area, and must all be the same kind of people too. Makes total sense. NOT.
There is nothing more to Maharashtra than Mumbai and Vada Paav. Bas, that's all. Mangoes, Oranges, National Parks, mountains...? Don't know what you're talking about.
So you come from Hyderabad? Must be a software developer. So you come from prejudice-land? Must be a judgmental idiot. That's how it works, right?
So as it turns out, violence and misogyny is area specific. Just like intelligence. When was the last time we heard of a non-Jat rapist? Never.
Money minded, weird, funny, fat...who else have we heard these about? Everyone? Oh yeah! Everyone other than ourselves.
All Rajputs are kings and princes. Just like all Batliwalas manufacture bottles and all Boses are freedom fighters and owners of a well known audio system company.
Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our own assumptions that we refuse to see past them. A whole world of awesomeness is waiting to be discovered. Why stereotype, when you can embrace the differences?