Friday, April 6, 2012

Firang, a foreigner

Technically, any ‘non-Indian’ is a firang, but the word is actually reserved for people of the Caucasian race. Mention the word the image that comes up is of tall, slightly unkept, partially suntanned tourist in their version of “Indian clothes”, doing their best to politely ignore the crowd of ‘locals’ trailing them. ‘Firangs’ bring out the best and the worst in Indians- people go out of their way to help, but the attention often borders on obsequiousness. 
They may be residing in India for years, but once a firang, always a firang- you cannot change the colour of your skin. 
There are words, and there are words. Some words can be easily translated, others need to be described.  In April, I’ll attempt to capture the Soul of 26 'Indian' words in a  drabble of exactly 100 words.


Margot Kinberg said...

Natasha - What an interesting perspective! I ought to have known there would be a word for non-Indians, but I didn't know what it was nor what it connoted. Thanks

Kittie Howard said...

I've visited other countries with words for foreigners that aren't nice. It's unfortunate, but that's life.

Damyanti said...

Yep. I wonder whether we have a word for foreigners from non-caucasian descent.

Used another of your pics today, thank you---and as to who should be Didi, I think I'd love to call you Didi :)

Jemi Fraser said...

We don't have a similar word here in Canada - not that I know of anyway... Interesting!

Stephanie V said...

Not having a word for foreigners may be even worse than acknowledging them in whatever way other people do. I never thought about Canadians not having a particular word before.

Chuck said...

That's harsh. When I moved to Texas from Ohio I was told after 10 years I would no longer be considered a Yankee. Firang forever? Tough.


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