One of the things I often hear from other pardesi women is how most of the Punjabis they know are very loud, outspoken and ...well...arrogant. A few of the pardesi women I've heard this from were in relationships with Punjabi men so it's not like they based that off of only what they had heard. They see these behaviors in action in their own communities *sometimes.*
Punjabi's also seem to be heavily associated with the Sikh religion. Many people see a Sikh turban and instantly think he's Punjabi. While the majority are Punjabi, Punjab is a diverse landscape with Hindu's, Muslims, Christians, Jains and many other non-Sikh individuals. Surf the net for "Punjabi" and you're almost certain to be led to many, many, many, many, many, Sikh websites. So it's no wonder Punjab has the stereotype it has. Part of the stereotype comes from the well known Sikh activists (who are outspoken indeed) and from the Golden Temple being located there, the anti-Sikh riots and history, etc. I could go on but most of you have already heard all these things coming of out of Punjab.
Sikhs are the majority in Punjab, making up almost 60% of the total population. That's a large number but it leaves 40% (still nearly half) of the state being of other religions. It's all in how you look at it. Worldwide, Punjabi NRI's are known for their lavish lifestyles. I would assume, though I can find no statistical data nor do I know many Punjabi NRI's, that this is another stereotype.
Gujrati's are often thought of as money-minded. They're well-known as business owners, both in and out of India. One disturbing stereotype I ran across while searching online is that Gujrati's are gutless. That one upset me. I read several references of women wanting to walk all over them because they were not typically known as fighters. Um, hello? What happened to general human nature? I read slanders about all Gujju's being vegetarian and couldn't help but wonder why in the world my personal, life-long Gujju friends all eat meat then. Could this be an NRI only concept? Surely not. Alas, I must digress that all of these things are stereotypes and should not be taken seriously.
Uttar Pradesh citizens are known for their corruption and criminal mentalities. I can't even count the number of times I've heard this stereotype. I heard it from those I've interacted with personally, I've seen it implied in news reports on both TV and in print. It's an ugly stereotype to say the least. What I personally saw with my own two eyes didn't give me that picture. I visited U.P. in April of 2011. I saw women in sari's doing road construction work. I saw children carrying sacks that weighed more than they do. So while there may be corruption and criminals there, my overall impression was that these people are doing what has to be done to survive. Every city, state and country in the world has crime and corruption.
*Just as a side note, this same type of stereotyping occurs in the US as well. For my Indian readers, if you're not familiar with this in America, google for "West Virginia jokes" and you'll see what I mean.
What are some stereotypes you've heard about states in India?
Have they affected you and your family?
Where do you think stereotypes like this come from?
Stereotypes in Print:
Times of India: Parineeti & I are true Punjabis: Karan Tacker
DNA India: Why business-minded Gujaratis back Modi!
The Hindu: ‘Criminals' and crorepatis in fray in Uttar Pradesh