We,the people of India, seem to enjoy squeezing out every bit of respect from words that convey respect. Words which once conveyed a lot of respect soon come to be used in such weird contexts that they start causing offence.
One such word is ‘Bhaiya’ which literally means brother. It has become quite common to use this word for milkmen, washermen,etc.Who has not heard the milkman being described as ‘doodhwala bhaiya’ ?
‘Bhai’ which has the same meaning as ‘Bhaiya’ is much more maligned. It means the don who is worthy of fear and not love.People say, don’t take liberty with him. ‘Bhai ka aadmi hai’.
‘Dada’ has met the same fate. The word means grandfather, but it has come to mean the don. Like you say, ‘is ilake ka dada’.The poor grandfather can never think of being a ‘dada’.
Another such word is ‘Guru’ which means the teacher.It has now come to mean cunning. People say, keep away from him. ‘Bahut guru aadmi hai’. The word is also sometimes used for waiters in small restaurants. When you want tea, you shout at the top of your voice and say,’Guru, ek cup chai dena’.
I have found a common thread in the words that are misused. They all represent the masculine gender. I wonder why the most respectful masculine words are identified and then used in the most inappropriate contexts. Is there a foreign hand ? Is it a feminine hand?
It is time, all men unite and protect the few masculine words of honour they are left with. This is clearly a case of gender discrimination.