Monday, August 16, 2010

Romanticizing the Bengalis

We Malayalis love to idolize Bengalis. They are intellectual, make great cinema, write great literature, have contributed to Independence movement like no one else,  same to the leftist movement in India. They eat rice like us, and they cannot eat without fish! And see, how many Nobel laureates they have? If you die out of romanticisms, check out the deshabhimani (Perhaps they have a necessity to keep us romantic about Bengal?).

I never hear a North Indian say such good words about Bengalis, in fact all they talk about is the dirt and poverty in Bengal. And let's forget all about the imperial institutions (Kolkata used to be the capital) that might have been influential in all those "intellect" that came from Bengal.

But for Bengalis, we Malayalis can easily be approximated by an abstract "Dosa-Idli-Sambar-only-eating-South-Indian" (except for being the "god's own country"). Our food is South Indian food, our movies are South Indian movies. And yes, we eat rice, but its not the same rice that you guys eat. And dont talk about you eating fish; all Indians know we Bengalis hold the patent for "cannot eat without fish".  And you eat beef!

Oh come on, I am being easily stupid here. The Malayalis I am talking about are my friends, who have a lot in common with me. Perhaps the average Malayali knows nothing about Bengal. Perhaps I met average Bengalis only.


For all their intellectualness, I guess I've not met a single Bengali who appreciate what we like about Kerala. In fact the normal Bengalis I've met are quite right wing, believers in Kali and astrology, anti-reservationists, etc.  So I think there's a case for not being so romantic about Bengal (about things which are not true).