Monday, 18 June 2012

With Pranab Da as prez; goodbye to Bengali jokes?

I am happy that Pranab Mukherjee will soon become the President of India. I am happy not because he is also a Bengali. My views are not so parochial. There is another reason.

I grew up in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh where there are not many Bengalis.

At school, being the only Bengali in the class, I would often become the butt of Bengali jokes.

I clearly remember that when I was in class two, some classmates on seeing me would start reciting a limerick in a singsong way – Bangali babu, sadi machchhi khabu, latrine jabu, kabhi na abu. (The Bengali eats rotten fish; upsets his stomach and spends time forever in the latrine.)

I would become depressed. I would be ashamed of being a Bengali. My depression would turn into agony when on returning home from school my mother would serve fish curry and rice for lunch.

I would protest and tell her the reason. She would say, ‘Do not worry. The fish that I have prepared is fresh. You should not bother about what others say.’

I was the target of Bengali jokes even in higher classes.

‘Do you know the Bengalis are the most coward people on this earth?’ a classmate once said.

‘How can you say that?’

He started telling a joke.

A quintessential Bengali would often brag about his bravery. His Sikh friend once asked him, ‘Can I place the barrel of a gun across your shoulder and fire?’ The Bengali was dead scared but it was the question of Bengali pride. He agreed.

The Bengali’s legs started shaking as he felt the barrel of the gun on his shoulder. His koortah became wet with his perspiration when he heard the bullet being loaded.

The gun was fired and to the Bengali’s astonishment, he did not faint.

‘You are really brave,’ said the Sikh, ‘but you need to change your koortah. It has become wet.’

Panting, the Bengali replied, ‘Sardar Ji, I need to change my dhoti too.’

I can’t reason why there are so many jokes in which a Bengali is either handling a gun or going for hunting.

A few months back, a friend sent me a poem, which he claimed had been written by a Bengali teacher around 100 years back. Here’s the poem –

Through the jongole I am went
On shooting Tiger I am bent
Boshtaard Tiger has eaten wife
No doubt I will avenge poor darling's life
Too much quiet, snakes and leeches
But I not fear these sons of beeches
Hearing loud noise I am jumping with start
But noise is coming from my damn fool heart
Taking care not to be fright
I am clutching rifle tight with eye to sight
Should Tiger come I will shoot and fall him down
Then like hero return to native town
Then through trees I am espying one cave
I am telling self - 'Bannerjee be brave'
I am now proceeding with too much care
From far I smell this Tiger's lair
My leg shaking, sweat coming, I start pray
I think I will shoot Tiger some other day
Turning round I am going to flee
But Tiger giving bloody roar spotting Bengalee
He bounding from cave like footballer Pele
I run shouting 'Kali Ma tumi kothay gele'
Through the jongole I am running
With Tiger on my tail closer coming
I am a telling that never in life
I will risk again for my damn wife!!!!

After some time, the friend coolly said, ‘I hope I have not offended you.’

‘Not at all,’ I replied.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Ululating by Bengali women is another thing that for I have often been mocked at.

It is something very strange for the non-Bengalis who never have had Bengali friends.

Bengali women are always ready to ululate. No religious ceremony of the Bengalis is complete without ululation.

The long Bengali wedding ceremony is interspersed with ululations.

Bengali women ululate during During Puja. Ululating competitions are held for women during the Puja.

One day an acquaintance asked me, ‘Do Bengalis also ululate when somebody in their home is dead?’

Another asked, ‘Black magic is quite common in Bengal. Is ululating a part of black magic?’

I would feel like piercing my eardrums when my mother every day would ululate while doing puja.

One day I asked her, ‘Can’t you do away with your ululations?’

‘Are you mad?’ she said with surprise.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

When I was in college, a Punjabi female friend asked, ‘Why do Bengalis make balls of rice while eating?’

I had never heard about balls of rice. I cocked my ears and asked, ‘Balls of rice?’

‘Bengalis while eating do not simply mix rice and dal or curry. They keep on rolling the rice on the palm with their fingers till they have a ball. The balls are so perfect that you can pop them into your month; like peanuts,’ she said and giggled.

‘How do Punjabis eat rice?’ I asked.

‘Punjabis do not make balls,’ she said.

I said, ‘Today you are my friend, tomorrow you may become my girlfriend and day after tomorrow my wife. Then you also will be making balls with rice and popping them into your mouth.’

‘That will never happen.’

‘What will never happen – you becoming my wife or you not making balls of rice?’ I asked.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

I have mentioned in an earlier post that while living in Bhopal, I would spend my afternoons at the Indian Coffee House with journalists.

One day, an elderly journalist, with an impish smile asked, ‘Why are Bengalis called Bhookha Bengalis (starving Bengalis)?’

‘Do I look like a starving Bengali from any angle?’ I said.

He continued smiling and said, ‘But why are Bengalis called so?’

‘I have no idea. May be due to the famine in Bengal,’

‘You are a Bengali and you must try to find out,’ he said.

I nodded.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

I am happy that Pranab Da will soon occupy Rashtrapi Bhawan.

Now if a friend says that Bengalis are coward, I will reply, ‘Have some sense, man. Do you think a coward can be the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces?’

If a friend asks me if why Bengali women ululate, I will say, ‘May be, they follow the family members of our president.’

If somebody asks why Bengalis are called Bhookha Bengalis, my answer will be, ‘Our president is Bengali. Why do not you send a mail to him and ask him?’


  1. hahahah! What a gr8 masterpiece writeup. really enjoyable to read. Here in KSA, we do have also listening a lot about "bengalis" but the this term refers only to Bengladeshi people and not to our indian w/bengal residents. and for your info, these "bengalis" always show anger when calling them as "bengali", they said: "Dont call us bengali, we are not from indian state of west bengal." they called themselves as "Deshi" !!! hahahaha

    1. Man u got no knowledge though u are “ Lotta Kombal” Bangladeshi people make fun calling W/ Bengal people cos only what they have is “ Lotta & Kombal” and they gets angry Ha ha ha!
      India got Independence due to the freedom struggle of Subash Chandra ,Bengali people. Bengali people living in Bangladesh are called Bangladeshi and to your knowledge only Bengali hindu women Ululatate on their religious purpose and 90 % of population of Bangladesh are Muslim..

  2. remember what Ghalib said abt u ppl
    "100 saal peeche bhi jeete hai aur 100 saal aage bhi".(conservative as well as advanced)
    You'd enjoy Gulzar's Serial on him (the Part when he goes to Calcutta)



  4. Having worked in Delhi I was once asked by a senior executive of my company, a Punjabi man who thought the sun shines out of his ass, "Bengali madam, macchi khabe?"

    My response - "Sure Bandgobi saab, jaise ap apna roti aur sag khatam karo mai bhi kha lungi."

    Him - I don't always have roti and saag

    Me - Aapko delh ke toh aisa hi lagta hai, sar se pao tak haryali

    He never bothered me again :)

  5. Having a woman as Prez didn't do anything drastic for women. Similarly, I don't think having a Bengali Prez will stop the jokes...The jokes will probably increase thanks to Mr.Mukherji's accent!

  6. Perhaps if people weren't so provincial, they'd realize all Mid-East ululates. The real question should be what historical is the ululation.

  7. With respect to accents, I always thought it was time Indians stopped being racists themselves - speaking as an 'NRI' sorry but it's a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. Unless your requirement is speaking the Queen's English to be president of India...which obtained independence at some point if I might recall.

  8. This is really nice. I know how ppl in the north can be to other communities. Most don't bother to scratch the surface.

  9. Replies
    1. for your kind information, Mr. Jaswinder ILLITERATE Surajbanshi, Bengalis are the most brave race ever in India. Rabindranath Tagore was the first Bengali to receive Nobel prize ( but what about you non-bengalis?), Satyajeet Roy was the first reciepient of Oscar( but what about you non-bengalis?). First ever IIT was founded in West Bengal( but what about you non-bengalis?). Our president is a Bengali( but what about you non-bengalis?) Sourav Ganguly is one of the most succesfull captain of India.( but what about you non-bengalis?)First automobile industry was founded in West Bengal( but what about you non-bengalis?).Satyendranath Tagore was the first ICS officer( but what about you non-bengalis?),And a majority of the member of the royal society are Bengalis( but what about you non-bengalis?)Many Bengalis have climbed Mt. Everest( but what about you non-bengalis?) Majority of our freedom fighters are from Bengal. I think you have heard the name of Netaji,Kshudhiram Basu. Though I don't think that you non-bengalis are that much knowledge. Calcutta was the 2nd largest city of the British Empire( but what about you non-bengalis?)Most of our renowned scientists are from Bengal.Malaria parasite was invented in Bengal.Mohun Bgan was the first Indian Football club to win the IFA shield.Bengalis are the race of culture, education and music. So I hope you have properly been replied.

    2. jaswinder the first thing is that this is very confusing that u people are male or female.Confused punjabi people.The thing which u were saying my reply is that, i think u havent done any research or check history for bengali.So let me educated you in that because bengali is the cast who dont show there power to weak people and in unneccesary thing.give respect to women and man can get slap from bengali they u will get to know power you weak vegetarian people.only eat chicken in ones a month and show in that way like u have eaten in every alternate days or week.consume ghee inflexible punjabi body.let me get back to your point jaswinder(male or female dont know confused name).Check the first world champion light heavyweight wrestler Mr. Jatindra Charan Goho. He was the first Asian to win the World Light Heavyweight Championship in the United States in 1921 and first Mr. universe from india in bodybuilding Mr. Manohar Aich they were bengali.Saurav Ganguly Trained indian team to play and win cricket with courage outside india.this courage lesson was taught by him in the last 70 to 80 years.Subhash chandra bose was the founder of indian national army and fought with british with physical power and brain.If u check u will get more number of freedom fighter in one bengali community and they fought with hands. Chittaranjan Das, Khwaja Salimullah, Surendranath Banerjea, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Titumir (Sayyid Mir Nisar Ali), Prafulla Chaki, A. K. Fazlul Huq, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Bagha Jatin, Khudiram Bose, Surya Sen, Binoy-Badal-Dinesh, Sarojini Naidu, Aurobindo Ghosh, Rashbehari Bose and deshbandhu and many more.Brojen das was first indian to cross english channel i think u know to swim in sea need jigra and courage.Brojen crossed the English Channel total 6 times during 1958–1961.Commander-in-Chief,Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee was bengali in 1955-60.Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri and Shankar Roychowdhury was indian army chief and they were bengali.U can check pala empire and sen empire who captured all india from 8 century to 13 century.No other community has done that thing accept Maurya dynasties.What we have achieved by our courage this the small list .Tu toh phattu punjabi hai 16 century tak churiya pehen rakhi thi.phir ankh khuli woh bhi ek 17 century mein toh ek raja ranjit singh huya aur usne bhi punjab mae hi empire bana paya.courage nahi that barane ka.gand tum logo ki zyadda patti hai aur muh chalake zyada dikhate ho.bengal ne british ke khilaf khare huye the is liye bengal regiment stop kar diya phattu.tum ko talwe chaatte the na.dekh ke boliya tumhare sharir jaan hota hao kamjor log bangali se bol single single lar le...gaand pate toh kisi bula mat liyo...

  10. Ye kisi bengali ne non bengali ne blog lika hai....kyunki jis tarah secgrammer or puntuation ka dyan mae rakhkar likha aisa lagta hai newspaper ka article hai.insult karne liye ye article intentionally banaya gaya hai kisi dusre community ke bande ne.agae bengali mae itne khot hai to puri duniya unhe kaise janti hsi inhi bekar, phattu aur unpar harkat ke liye toh phir sab communuty ko aisa banna chahiye.taki sab jan paye.

  11. Feel hurt may be natural, but arguing is useless. We all are nice people, still we all have our prejudices.
    Don't react to racial/regional jokes, just respond to them calmly. Try to be the best person you can be. That's all you can do.

  12. Bengalis...wat to say....Sabse chutiya hote hain

  13. Bengali women are the bravest.. they shout at their husbands and treat them like dog.. and they are expert to catch boys from any community. the only problem Bengalis don't have the male species.

    1. aye barwe bangali wo me male species dekhege.kabhi bhej apne behen ko mere pas laure.bangali mard kiya hota hmm pata chal jayega.sala ghee paratha khane wale.bhej kabhi tere behen ko mere pas.

    2. aye barwe bangali wo me male species dekhege.kabhi bhej apne behen ko mere pas laure.bangali mard kiya hota hmm pata chal jayega.sala ghee paratha khane wale.bhej kabhi tere behen ko mere pas.