Urdu slang: burger

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by lcfatima, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I recently saw the slang word burger meaning someone who is Westernized, sort of in a negative way, jo angrez banna chahta hai or something. Is this from the English word hamburger? I am not sure of how widely used this word is, i.e. is it only used in Pakistan, or would Indians know what a burger is, too?
  2. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Never heard of it. The only pejorative term for westerners I know is farangī.
  3. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Oops, by someone, I meant a desi someone. It is not a term for a Westerner, it is a term for a Pakistani who is "too Westernized."
  4. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    Yes, I hear it a lot here in PK.... Oh the new indian songs... they are so burger !
  5. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    At earlier times, and before burgers became popular, such a (westernised) person was called <kaalaa SaHib>!

    PG, I think the term ferangi was used more for the Europeans themselves in general, though as a satirical term for a South Asian pretending to be European in taste and manners also seems plausible.
  6. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member


    apart from kaala saahib, there is also the equivalent expression kaala angrez still in use...
  7. BP. Senior Member

    I've never heard kaala a.ngraiz or even kaala saahib. Generation gap at work maybe!
  8. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Well, I've never heard <kaala a.ngraiz> ever.

    To be honest, neither have I myself heard <kaala saahib>. But my parents know this expression well as they grew up in <<British India>>. It was fairly common then to describe an Indian gentleman with overtly English / British manners.

    Yes, there is a generation gap even for me!
  9. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    I must agree that I never heard kaala saahib.
  10. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi

    I'm surprised that (some) people are still using <kālā Sāhib / Sāhab / Sahab>.I just did a google search for these and a number of hits led me to mostly Pakistani web sites!
  11. huhmzah

    huhmzah Senior Member

    Ithaca, NY
    Urdu - English
    I've never heard Kaala sahib either, wonder what "Pakistani" websites these are...
    Burger I've definitely heard.
  12. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    So this is a Pakistani term and not an a general South Asian term?
  13. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    How about these?

    [[Trim your facial hair, please

    Posted on June 20, 2006
    Filed Under >Adil Najam, Economy & Development, Religion, Society

    “ … But, to think that one can look presentable only in western clothes is plain wrong and shows a sense of kalla saab cultural insecurity.”


    Altamash Mir says:
    June 21st, 2006 12:51 pm
    Sure dakta, I agree. It absolutely is Kala sahab mentality (inferiority Complex), but I can tell you on behalf of my Marketing team, which I personally supervise, “Image is everything”.

    Both HERE. ]]


    [[Tension Kya Hai ?

    Jan 27 2008, 09:07 PM

    "yeh sirf outside ka nahi pakistan main bhi yeh "kala sahab" buhat hotay hain jo skin color ki wajah say "gora sahab" to nahi ban saktay but kala sahab zaroor ban jatay hain... tension nahi i think complex hai.."

    HERE ]]


    [[ PAF News - 2004 : Sept - Oct

    Usman Shabbir
    09-14-2004, 11:11 AM

    ”I am asking the poster to do a spell and grammar check because it is hard to figure out what exactly he is trying to convey; it does not have anything to do with reigns of gora or kala sahab.”

    HERE ]]


    Of course some people above are using the term <kala sahab> to mean a <desi> with a feeling of inferiorty so tries to act / become western. This was also implied in the original usage.


    Burger might be a "new" Pakistani term for a westernised person, but as you can see from the few references to web sites above (and these too from just the 1st page in my google search), the use of the term <kala sahab> is in full swing amongst Pakistanis or those associated with Pakistan.

    In India kala sahab has been around a long time. The writer, Kailash Kalpit (Kailash Bahadur Saxena) has a list of publications that include “Kala Sahab Gori Mem”. This gets a mention in Who's who of Indian Writers, 1999, by K. C. Dutt, Sahitya Akademi, Page 545, HERE.

    (There are Indian / India-associated web sites too that also refer to <kala sahab>. I haven't bothered presenting the links here as the first few had pics of scantly clad ladies posing for the camera. Me prude? What with a biology and medical backround? Hardly. But I need to keep the decorum of this forum.)

    The term
    <kala sahab> is old and still in use on both sides of the border.
  14. Altamashjmir New Member

    lol I ran into this page tonight while googling myself...
    The Term "Burger" in Pakistani culture originated in the early 90's when a Television sitcom titled "Burger Family" started. This sitcom was built around a Pakistani family that wanted to be westernized and modernized. Instead of the traditional "Bun Kabab", they would eat "Burgers" at newly introduced burger joints eg Mr. Burger in Karachi. Nowadays every major pakistani city has dozens of McDonalds, Pizza Huts & KFC's.
  15. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I saw this film a long time ago so my memory is cloudy, but in the movie Dehli Six I remember people calling the hero character "burger chap." So I think Indians would understand this.
  16. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Can anyone describe to me what qualifies "Burger Urdu"?
  17. Sheikh_14 Senior Member

    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    I beg to differ I have quite often heard Kaala Angrez if not Kaala sahib. Burger on the other hand is quite a recent invention amongst the naujawan (youth) whereas your parents were more likely to say the former. At least in Punjab that is the case not sure about the rest on this particular matter. Burger has especially come in vogue during the recent electioneering prior to that it was there but not as visible. However, most definetely there is a generation gap my grandparents used them more often than I hear my contemporary naujawans use them. But it does stick.
  18. Sheikh_14 Senior Member

    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    The anglification of Urdu words or over substitution of Urdu with English when you are in fact trying to speak Urdu. Another ironic point about 'burger' families is that they are meant to be pretentious in that they have neither the education nor the background yet they assume an alien culture simply to appear superior.

    So if a "burger girl" was speaking she would constantly say "you know" like "you know Joh ghareeb laug hotey hain, you know, unki main you know madat karna chahthey hoon". Hope you catch the drift. The truth is it is more often than not an attack on one's pretentiousness rather than their Western credentials so to speak.
  19. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Thank you for this. In the 5 years since this thread was first launched, I've learned quite a bit about Burger Urdu. :)

    I remember reading not so long ago that "burger" in Sri Lanka derives from the word "bourgeois." I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case here.
  20. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ I am of the opinion that the word "burger" is simply "hamburger" as defined by the Oxford Dictionary:

    "A flat round cake of minced beef that is fried or grilled and typically served in a bread roll; a hamburger".

    Of course, its ingredients may and do vary.

    As has been explained by various friends already, it is implied that those who are termed as "burgers" or belonging to "burger families" spend their time eating from places such as "Burger Kings", "KFCs" (i.e Western fast foods) and the like rather than sticking to the traditional "desii" cuisine, whether of home or stalls/cafes. Not only do they eat burgers all the time but they speak a type of Urdu with a heavy dosage of English. This is of course a stereotype. There are indeed people who eat burgers and speak "burger" Urdu but the whole issue is a product of our society. The system is designed in such a way that if you speak English (of a sort), your chances of finding employment are going to be greatly enhanced. You won't get very far speaking "King's Urdu" and no English! You go to an English Medium school where Urdu would inevitably take the position on the back burner. If the children then end up speaking "Burger Urdu", then we should not be surprised. As a matter of interest, Imran Khan's party is accused of having a large portion of "burger-family" supporters.

    There is then another group of people who may not have gone to English Medium schools but in order to fit in with the rest of the "burger society", they try to employ a lot of English words to basically show off. Often this backfires because as they don't really know English they end up employing the wrong word.

    A lot of those people who accuse a section of society of speaking "burger Urdu" themselves are hypocrites of the first degree. They, even when they become ministers and prime ministers, are unable to speak half decent Urdu and have to resort to speeches written on scraps of paper. Some are betters than others.

    The idea of "burger people" is of course not new as has already been pointed out by the term "kaalaa SaaHib". In England the word "coconut" is used for those who are supposedly white in their inner self and black outside! Here is Akbar Ilahabadi expressing his view in his very inimitable style.

    hu'e is qadar muhazzab kabhii ghar kaa muNh nah dekhaa
    kaTii 3umr hoTaloN meN, mare aspataal jaa kar

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