(Wednesday, 7 April 2004)
I was about to title this blog as “Calling a Person Names according to Indian Culture” but stopped short of it.
Like any other civilization of world, it is common in India to attribute a person’s quality to an animal.
Calling someone a dog or a pig – is very disrespectful. Calling someone a pig is very bad because of Muslim influence on Indian culture. A dog also is equally bad. So avoid those words.
A bug of any sort is one that has no significance or power. Common usage is “you poor bug” (kShoodra jantoo).
A mole is a very timid person. (chhachoodar kaheen ka!)
Contrast this with a lion (or a tiger), which goes almost with the common usage in English. However, a lion is supposed to be more brave than intelligent.
A donkey or an ox is a person who works – and works without finding intelligent way out of it.
Surprisingly, a horse or a camel is a person who can not make sense of situation and is staring around. Calling someone a horse is remarkably different in Western culture.
A bull is a maverick. Someone who is purely driven by instincts and pleasure out of satisfying them. (You got it.)
A cow is a meek, helpless person.
An elephant is anything that takes too much of resources (white elephant). If you mean to deride someone just for their appearnace, the correct word is “madaniyun” in Gujarati – which means “baby elephant”. I am not sure why adult elephants were spared from size related ridicule.
A snake is someone you should not trust.
A lizard is typically a youth in 20’s with clean shaved, lean look.
A water buffalo (bhais or bhaisaa in Hindi) is a lazy fellow.
A sparrow is someone industrious.
An owl does not mean a wise person in India. An owl is an inauspicious person with sad look on his / her face. In Hindi, an owl is a fool.
Sheep and goat are not lucky enough to be compared with human beings – other than when it comes to killing. A butchering of human beings is called “killing (someone) like sheep and goat”.
A parrot is one who can speak out things verbatim – without understanding a word out of it. A lot of universities these days graduate such parrots with high scores.
A rooster is a well dressed man, intending to impress women.
The most complicated attribute is a monkey. Indian meaning behind calling someone a monkey is to respect him despite joking about him.
A monkey is not a fool. A monkey is not entirely unpredictable druncard. A monkey is someone who understands a system – but yet tries out things that question basic assumptions behind the system.
No wonder Darwin’s theory of evolution is almost universally accepted in Indian society!