Indian ladies [nationality or other connotation?]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by marrish, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu

    A couple of days ago I read this article:

    I'd like to request your opinion on the following quotation:

    Still, Patil [the doc] says, the women wouldn't come.

    "Muslim ladies, they will never come because it's their culture," she says. "Even Indian ladies, they are very shy. So we appointed all-female staff."

    What do you deduce from this? Does the adjective ''Indian'' have any other connotation than the nationality?

    Thank you.
  2. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Since the item you mention is about India and situations totally within India, I doubt there's any other connotation.
  3. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hello marrish

    In general, I'd say that "Indian ladies" means simply "women from India".

    In the specific context you quote, it seems likely that "Indian ladies" means "non-Moslem Indian women".
  4. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    It would have been better if you had provided explanatory context, but the link was helpful. I gather that she is not referring to nationality but to religion. Apparently, Dr. Patil thinks of women of the Muslim religion as not being Indian, even though they are presumably citizens of India, and she has concluded that their religion/culture will keep them from showing up for testing (for precancerous cervical changes). By "Indian ladies", she clearly means Indian women who are not Muslims.

    That doesn't seem to me a quite proper use of the word "Indian", but perhaps the understanding is different in "Indian English".
  5. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    That was my conjecture, thanks for the explanation. It would be nice to know about the understanding in ''Indian English''. Otherwise maybe there are some Muslim ladies coming over across the border to get themselves tested with vinegar?
  6. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Yes, the whole situation is within India and the person being interviewed is an Indian. Would it imply that the Muslim ladies she was speaking about were not considered Indian?
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    It would imply, I think, that the speaker was using "Indian" to mean "non-Moslem Indian".

    I don't think you can read anything more into it.
  8. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Thank you, that is fair enough. I'm curious if the usage of Indian for all Indians except Muslims is a single case of that particular speaker or is this spread more widely.
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Well, all we know is that it that the speaker concerned is using it in that way.

    I don't know whether it's used in that way more broadly within India. You might be in a better position to tell us than I am:).

    It's not, however, used in that way in British English: in BrE "an Indian lady" would mean a woman from India.
  10. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    No, Dr. Patil was quite specific about that; she didn't expect the Muslim women to come for testing at all. She expected only the ones she referred to as "Indian ladies".
  11. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    There is a tendency, sometimes, for members of the majority group to use a label that excludes minority groups, and often this is done unconsciously. This practice is frowned on by many. So someone might talk about 'the Chinese' and not include the Tibetans or Mongols. It is not impossible that Dr Patil was thinking of Hindu (as opposed to Muslim) Indian ladies as well, I think, but I am not sure.
  12. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I agree with Natkrep in wondering if what Dr Patil had in mind was "Hindi ladies". My Gujrati isn't good enough to know if this is a likely mistranslation, but I strongly suspect it.
  13. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Perhaps you wished to say ''Hindu ladies''?
  14. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Of course I did! Duh!
  15. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    A very interesting question! I do not believe this has anything to do with the language, i.e "Indian English". It is to do with the state of mind and I here would concur with natkretep's thought process. In the UK, one often hears of English this and English that (the majority community), conveniently forgetting about the Welsh, the Scottish and the Irish peoples.

    I would like to say that this doctor's thinking is just one off. But, I am sorry to say that it is n't. Whilst at university, one of my Hindu friends said to me, "There are more Pakistanis in India than there are Pakistanis in Pakistan!" Being not so sharp, it took a little while for the penny to drop. According to him, the Indian Muslims were not Indians but Pakistanis! By the same token, in Dr. Patil's eyes, "Indian ladies" is equivalent to "Hindu ladies" and Muslim ladies, somehow don't succeed in being part of the Indian scene.
  16. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    If the interview was originally in Hindi, then my guess is that it was a mistranslation into English. After all, one of the traditional definitions (though not a current one) of Hindu is Indian. If the interview was in English and she used the exact words in quotes, then of course it's politically and factually incorrect. As a doctor, she should be more knowledgeable than that!
  17. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I agree with what you said about the political and factual incorrectness in case the interview was in English and that is how it seems to have been conducted. Otherwise, if we have a case of a wrong translation, I wouldn't hesitate to lodge a complaint with the BBC.
  18. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    May I point out that this is a language forum. While national culture may affect the use of language, this is not the forum for a cultural discussion. It is also not the place for speculation about whether or not the interview was conducted in English or some other language. That can be discovered by contacting the author. There is, on the BBC page linked from the OP, a link to the source of the story.

    Please stay on topic.

    Andygc, moderator
  19. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I am very well aware of the nature of the forum and my questions relate to the English lanugage, otherwise I would have posted it in the Cultural Cafe forum. Sorry for answering a post about a speculation about the possibility of some other language at play but it seems from the further linguistic analysis of the interview that the language was English only. Please take the following into consideration:

    "Whenever we used to go to their houses, they used to shut the doors. They would say, 'No, we don't want [it]. You go away.'"

    [it] has been added to the English text, not to the translation so for me the matter has been settled that there is no danger of talking about a translation here, but maybe, about a variety of the English lanugage.

    So the question remains: is it wrong English or is it accepted in Indian English?
  20. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    I can't speak for those who speak Indian English, but I don't think you have to speak Indian English to realize that it is simply not true that you have to be Hindu to be Indian. It may be an error of attitude, but it is also quite simply a factual error as well. I can think of no legitimate reason to perpetuate it, but if there is one, I hope a speaker of Indian English will explain it.
  21. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Hauts-de-Seine, France
    English (Ireland)
    It seems quite evident that, in this context, Indian means Hindu. Perhaps it was a conscious statement aimed at attributing a sense of otherness to Muslims, perhaps it was not. In any event, the meaning hardly seems in doubt.
  22. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    It would be very much in doubt if the reader happened to not realize that there are lots of non-Hindus who are Indian. The statement is - and I'm sure this isn't intentional - very misleading.
  23. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    I roughly went through the link. Even in Indian English, "Indian Ladies" means "women from India". India houses not only Hindu or Muslims, but many other people from other community. When one refer to "Indian Ladies", one just mention about Ladies from India regardless of their religion. Without going through the link I thought the conversation occurred outside India. But it's not the case. It needs modification in the text.

    N.B - The national language of India is Hindi, and in Hindi, our country is called Hindustan referring to Hindus, but that should not be counted as any indication that only Hindus are here and India is synonymous to Hindu. As far back as ages there were as many Hindus as there were Muslims in India, and equally same number of other people from other religious. During the partition in 1947 British tried to separate Hindu and Muslim and so they made Pakistan out of India. But still Muslims are there in India. And Hindus are there in Pakistan. As from older documents it is evident some could not manage to cross border, or some intentionally managed to escape govt's attempt to throw Hindus to India and Muslims to Pakistan.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  24. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    The conversation has taken place in India so I thought the Muslim ladies were tourists from, let's say Pakistan or the Gulf to have themselves checked with vinegar.

    My second point. The national language of India is Hindi and English and in Hindi the country is called Bhaarat. I think it is the remainant of the slogan Hindu Hindi Hindustan (not that it is important to this thread but Hindustan is Urdu).
  25. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    Well "Hindustan" might be Urdu. But it's common. Yes I agree "Bharat" is also called.

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