India Uncut

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Friday, May 06, 2005

We're all Hindú

Vikrum Sequeira writes:
You can learn a lot about a culture through an examination of the vernacular. In Latin American Spanish a person from India is called a hindú. Indio, which means Indian, refers to an indigenous person. I have read Spanish-language newspapers that have published sentences like, “Abdul Kalam, el presidente hindú, dijo que…” (trans: “Abdul Kalam, the Hindu President, said that…” ) or “Manmohan Singh, el prime ministerio hindú, declaró que la India...” (trans: “Manmohan Singh, the Hindu Prime Minister, declared that India…”). This is especially ironic considering that Kalam is Muslim and Singh is Sikh!

In the rest of his post, "How do you say Brazilian in Hindi?", Sequeira examines how one can gain insights into the cultures of the Latin American countries by how they refer to Indians. A fascinating post. (Link via Dilip.)
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