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Indian diversity - do distinct cultural lines really exist?


This may be a particularly sensitive topic, so I will not be defiant in case a mod thinks it is best to close the thread.

As a person who grew up in a particularly liberal and multicultural family, I have come across so many generalizations that it appears to me that people actually believe India has two distinct cultures - that of North and South. I'm not sure how much truth there is to such a claim, but the fact is we all have too many common traits to be called "different people".

I have family both in the North and the South. Each time I went, they had a few things....."southies are like this", "northies are like that", etc.

I am South Indian - by last name only (apparently....). Most people guess wrong unless they have seen it. They say I lack "south Indian traits and appearance". My brother had a tough time with his temporary stay in Hyderabad because a lot of people thought he was a north Indian. Wasn't too bad but people at his workplace were initially a bit reserved and scornful when talking to him (unlike the openness you'd get in a place like Mumbai). All was good in the end though (we are both quite fluent speakers in our native tongue as well as Hindi and English)

We've not had problems with places in the North but that probably has a lot to do with our appearance and being fluent Hindi speakers. Heck, these differences in thinking have even caused so much problem - arranged marriage becomes a problem because a lot of south Indian families look at us (I mean, our uncles/cousins/etc., not me :p) and they feel we are not "south Indian" enough while north Indians have similar reservations (well, the name itself implies a south Indian, see?). As a result there have been many love marriages in my family (which is a good thing from my point of view) and my whole family is a mishmash of cultures.....

I mean, so many years have passed since Independence but we still have political leaders shouting out about language and culture issues (mainly Maharashtra and southern states). Are cultural differences really so vast that you can say there are two distinct classes of people?

Why do people still have an idea of what a "southie" or a "northie" should be like in terms of looks, traits or personalities? There's simply no effective way and people should look more at whether the personality and character are to your liking rather than saying "aey madrasi/mallu" and "arre bhaiyya".....

I would like constructive comments and a healthy debate in this thread. Please don't bash each other because we are all Indians and there is much more common between us than is different, in my opinion (even including North East people).
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Vicky Donor had good debate over Punjabi and Bengali.

Link? I tried searching before making the thread but somehow didn't come up with a match...:(

EDIT: Okay, I got it.......the movie, you mean. Got to stop thinking about exams less :)
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This doesn't exist so much in the metros. People more likely flock into "interest based" groups rather than northie-southie groups.

The difference exist every 100Kms you travel in our country. That's just how our land is.
You travel 250kms in any direction and you will find yourself in a completely new place, culture, language.


Sith Lord
Staff member
hmm wud go into stereotyping again, but some kinds of north indians mix much better with south indians than some other kind of north indians

also, much of south india hasnt really accepted hindi as the national language

movies, tv and newspapers exploit these stereotypes continuously, keeping them alive


@Sarath: I'm not really sure, I've heard of "groups" forming among students on regional lines in some of the best colleges in Bangalore. I'm not sure what you mean by "interest-based". Anyway, things in colleges are not serious anyhow (plus we're kids when that kind of stuff happens), so we can discount those things I guess.

I know the difference exists like everywhere but in my personal experience I've had less problems even going to villages in the North compared to the South. I mean bad things are everywhere (dowry etc. in the north for example) but at least people didn't look at me funnily until I started speaking :)

One thing I did note in my family was that my Northie relatives (elders, I mean) are more than happy to talk (and sometimes justify) about social evils (and nearly everything else actually) in their societies whereas my South Indian relatives (again, elders) just say something like "yea maybe but why are you bringing this up, it doesn't matter to you anyway". Younger ones, well, they grew up more liberal like I said so they don't really know much about these things (I mean, if you've done a love marriage anyway you'd not know too much about societal norms) so that's not a difference I've seen there.

I don't know, today education changes things at least in cities but in my hometown(s) I've definitely seen some difference in mindset and general disposition (let's just forget about appearance differences).


Staff member
There are many "whys" for which answers do not exist or there isn't a clear answer. This is same.

The only reason is that we, the people of FREE India, haven't really freed ourselves from orthodox and moronic moral beliefs & thoughts; thus not moving up from where we actually were decades ago.

You travel 250kms in any direction and you will find yourself in a completely new place, culture, language.

Kos kos par badle paani, char kos par badle vaani.
I speak as an Indian and a frustrated keralite.
You say there are problems with people from north and south marrying. Being a long and narrow state, we too have that south and north distinction. Our dialects differ in each district and everyone makes a mockery out of everyone, though not seriously. Marriages are a funny matter here, there is the caste filter at top, then comes the region filter, then the social status filter, then finally, but most important, income filter. India is not a united nation, India exist as a single nation, divided by caste, color, creed, wealth and gender.
The generation we belong to are much aware of the situation and is willing to clear the difference. People who argue blindly about their side being the best are just stupid and ignorant. In core, we are all same people, just that our languages differ and we eat different food.


BIOS Terminator
My family is from gujarat but i have been living as a so-called "North Indian" since birth.

What i have observed in my college till now is the inability of South indians to mix with others.-:
the south indian students tended to remain to their own group and rarely interacted with others although they are very nice and well-behaved people and talk nicely when you approach them. But still they prefer to remained confined to their own group. This maybe due to their lack of comfort with the hindi language. But would like to cite an example of one andhra guy among us who is very involved with everyone even with his broken hindi and others don't mind helping him fix it.

The case might be opposite in south colleges, so enlighten me..

Our dialects differ in each district and everyone makes a mockery out of everyone, though not seriously.

yeah, specially the "HUM" and "MAIN" parties.:D
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