Desi

A google search for Sahir’s Parchaeyaan brings Himayun to a post on this blog.

Himayun- whose parents were born in India and migrated to Pakistan.
Me- whose parents were born in what is now Pakistan and migrated to India.

Does that make him a Pakistani of Indian descent ?
And me, an Indian of Pakistani descent ?

The word desi makes it easier to define ourselves- it makes us one.

Desi, a small, plebian word, contains the world for us- demolishes boundaries, nations, nation- states in one swift sweep two syllables long.

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3 Replies to “Desi”

  1. Bhupinder, My problem with the word “desi” is this: While demolishing the boundaries between you and Sahir, it clearly disintguishes the two of you from the rest of the world. I am very familiar with the Indian and Pakistani student-speak on university campuses, and in a vast number of cases, the former connotation (“he/she is also a desi”) is used without paying attention to the involuntary emergence of the latter (“he/she is one of us” thereby defining, however loosely, “us” and “them”).

  2. Propeller: I understand the attachment to the word “Indian” and by no means would I like to suggest that the word “desi” denies Indian- ness (or any other nationality in South Asia). But I do feel that there are unifying aspects to all of these countries, that this term pretty much sums up.

    It is also interesting to note the non- English, almost subaltern, nature of the word.

    And finally, it is very convenient.

    Polaris: That problem would also be with the term “Indian” or “Pakistani”.

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