Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Chennai resistance

-By Swetha Amit
Mentality of a Chennaite is something that never fails to amaze me and other people of different cities. This city has a rich cultural heritage and people indeed try their best to preserve it as much as possible.

However in spite of globalization descending upon them, with BPOs lurking at every corner, with the Burgers and pizzas invading their eateries, the typical chennaite will go by his time tested staple food. Times have changed, and Chennai itself is now invaded by population from other cities not only in India but form the world, thanks to the IT boom and the automobile hub centre that it has become.

One can see the metamorphosis almost everywhere; old buildings have given way to modern architecture, arterial roads choked to the brim with modern vehicles, individual bungalows replaced by the apartments. Only the age old temples have withstood this onslaught, but they too have been modernized with air coolers to endure the global warming!!!!!

However, most people are what they were, while some have become progressively adaptive to changes, there are die hard Chennaities who continue the tradition among this changing scenario. The lack of friendliness continues to prolong, which in turn baffles the new entrants into this city. For some unknown reason there exists a certain apprehension in the minds of the local residents to curve their lips into a warm smile. This lack of warmth exists even among several neighborhoods, where one resident is seen looking through the other despite making an eye contact.

A typical Chennaite is alien to the apartment system of community living. As he is used to an individual independent living, he finds it difficult to share space with the others. He still thinks the whole land belongs to him even though he has sold the place to others and finds it hard to come to terms with the fact that he now owns the space with several others.

Acceptance of change is met with resistance, with regard to other languages especially Hindi. Whether it is Hindi songs, films or uttering words of the same language, it is sad to see the condescending hatred towards it in this otherwise cultured city. Today Chennai can boast of several restaurants and theatres with cuisine and movies and music from the other side of the Vindhyas. But a typical Tamilian will be fiercely loyal to his food, his kind of movies and music, to an extent of developing a dislike to the latter linguistic utterance.

Coming to think of it, this city with a cultural background is rigid and resist changes. We Indians adapt to changes slowly, and propagate our own culture and tradition, which is good but when will we learn to become an Indian? When will India become like a China, or a US? Only here we find a "Punjabi", a "Bengali" a "Madrasi"... where is the "Indian"?

Let’s follow the INDIAN tradition of being strong in values, preserve our culture by being truthful to ourselves, and follow our religion.... Lets go beyond the "statehood” and become a nation instead. Let’s adapt the goodness from everywhere. Be it food, music, movies or any other practice. We don’t have to prove our origin by the "state" to which we belong to... we need to be a true Indian in thought and spirit.

Written for



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog.But following are my diagreements...

There is a fundamental difference between any other country and INDIA.INDIA ia a multi lingual/multi cultural country,if you travel from south to north in INDIA,every 100km you could see people speak differently,eat different food etc.This culture is a colorful cultural pot of many cultures.
Whats there in US? can see only coca-cola and starbucks every where.Instead of being apprehensive about our differences, we should celebrate our unity with all this diversity.No other country can boast such amount of diversity,incredible culture and survive these many years.

And regarding the language problem in chennai:
Most North Indians even they live in chennai for 20 years donot even attempt to learn tamil, but expect chennaities(most of whom are going to be in Tamil nadu for rest of their life) to learn Hindi.Dont you thinks its foolish?


3:52 AM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

Precisely what I'm saying.We should celebrate this diversity with a strong sense of unity.But we choose not too. I'm unable to figure out why.

Language problem dude-Well I know of North Indians who are keen to learn Tamil but are mocked for their attempts.There are some who are successfully able to speak with remarkable fluency.However I do know of Tamilians who stay in the north and dont even attempt to learn one word of Hindi.Dont you think thats dumb?

I frankly think one should know/try and learn the local language of that particular place of residence.Its essential.Whether its Kannada/Telugu/Punjabi/Marati/Gujarati/Tamil/Hindi

11:48 AM  
Blogger GANESH R said...

Good we are agreeing that we should celebrate out unity in diversity....Regarding mocking some one learning tamil...I think its pertaining not only to tamils,its done universally...but "Northies" take that mocking to next level by mocking a madarasi speaking hindi with an accent,with dhoti and ash filled head in tele serials / advertisements,movies etc.I donot know whats so funny about that. If any tamil leaving in north doesnot learn or pick up hindi(i sincerely doubt that, as moving in north without hindi is difficult)...they are doing it on their own peril.But aleast no tamilian living in north wont complain that locals in north donot speak tamil, as northies do in chennai,where they expect tamilians to speak hindi in chennai,if we do notspeak hindi we are considered as rude and unfriendly!!...I have to use the term "northie:,south india etc...but we are very sick of ppl from north advicing us what should we eat? what langauage we should speak?..Its another way of slavery and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth........

1:03 AM  
Blogger GANESH R said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:03 AM  

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