by tybmmjourno

Swati: I don’t want two buy this t-shirt.

Ashwini: Why?

Swati: The colour combination is too ghati, bright orange with parrot green, you know?

Ashwini: Yeah, that’s right.

Swati: I need something more decent.

Well before, I engross you with my thoughts; think ones about the use of the term, ghati here.

What according to you does this mean?

Mumbai, the economic capital of our country is a city in the western coastline. It is the New York of India, where large numbers of migrants have settled and now call themselves as ‘Mumbaite’, which is contradictory. Maharashtra, the mother state of the city is surrounded by Western Ghats, which constitute large mountain ranges. People staying in these ghats are called ghati. It literally means someone from the Ghats (mountains).

Maharashtrians are often referred to as ‘ghati‘ by non-Maharashtrians and so called Mumbaites. This is different from the ghati, Maharashtrians use in their day today life. It is now being used as slang; literally, this would mean people from ghats, adivasis mainly. However, usage is in the sense of cheap. As if for example, kya ghati hai tu means kya cheap hai tu. Ghati has now acquired the power to offend anyone. It has become a racially loaded, offensive insult as it carries the force of taboo.

Most interestingly, bollywood songs like Kisi disco mein jaye, chikni chameli, munni badnaam huee are typical ghati songs according to so-called sophisticated people of Mumbai and our nation too. May be because it is not decent, it does not have a class? What used to be popular culture earlier has now become high culture and vice-versa. An analogy would be terms like Mallus, Gujjus, TamBrams, Diggs and Gults. With all these terms, there is a particular notion attached to it, which can be positive as well as negative. Well negative connotation is seen most of the time.

Result of this notion clearly comes out from the case filed against Shroff by Vijay Mudras, an activist, who argues that the use of the term is, under Section 153(B) of the Indian Penal Code, likely to spread communal disharmony.

Shroff had published a collection of short stories, ‘Breathless in Bombay’, in 2008. Here, one character refers to another as a “ghati”, which is an offensive term for Maharashtrians who come from the ghats, often used to signify someone who is uncultured, backward and crude. Shroff uses “Ghati” in context in the way it’s used on the streets of Mumbai today — as a premeditated insult, placed in the mouth of an especially unlikable character.

This is not just happening in India but across all parts of the world. Likewise, “habshi”, used to describe anyone of dark complexion, “chinky” used to describe anyone from the Northeast and a dozen other terms. Ghati is an unpleasant term, somewhat abusive, describes someone who comes from the Ghat, but usage lends these terms his or her specific derogatoriness.

Well moral of the story is a question. What do you mean by being modern? What according to you is the meaning of westernization? You will find many of us saying moving away from our roots but in my opinion, we have started disrespecting what we have. As Indians, we don’t respect those who come from a less financially strong background or may be those who does not have a traditionally respected history. This is mainly because of division of labour based on our historical caste system.

We are nobody to implement any sort of change and even the government cannot do anything with any law because one who needs to change is no one other than us.

Unnati Maharudra