March 11, 2013

Gulti as Charged

It has come to my attention that some Telugu people do not like being referred to as “gults”


I don’t know. I am just stating the popular feeling. They seem to be angry about it. Not exactly angry, maybe they find it distasteful.

Go on...

Some people also find it a little insulting. A few even go as far as raising an objection to the use of the word while others merely disapprove of it.

Thankfully no one found it to be “controversial” yet, none of the “sentiments were hurt” by the “insensitive” word and you are lucky that no one took "offense"

I still don't see what the big deal is. It’s just a silly word. Gult/Gulti (originally Golti) is a word invented by Tamilians to (sometimes condescendingly) refer to Telugu people. I learned the word in my first year of college and we have all been using it ever since.

Your foul-mouthed College is different from society. You are part of "Jana Jeevana Sravanti" now

Now, I understand why some people don’t like the G-word. I have personally seen it being used in a very insulting and disdainful way but what is the point of attacking the word? If you replace the word ‘gult’ with the word ‘splork’, it would still be equally offensive!

Yes, but still...

Words by themselves are harmless be it gult, rape, nigger or whatever. It is always the context that makes them offensive. If people have the time, they should be attacking the narrow-minded, chauvinistic, cow-belt supremacist asshole who uses the word with such contempt

Okay, if it is not a big deal then why are you so hell bent on using it?

I am not hell bent or anything. It’s just that I like the word. Gult is such a nice word. It’s a beautiful word. It has only two syllables, ends with a vowel sound, naturally fits into the English grammar, we can use it to universally refer to any Telugu speaking fellow from Srikakulam to San Fransisco and it rhymes with cult. What more do you want from a word?

Give me a worthy replacement and I’ll stop using the G-word

Why don’t you use the normal word for Telugu people?

What "normal" word for Telugu people? There are words like Mallu, Tamilian, Bengali, Gujarati, and Marathi etc for those linguistic groups. Even Kannada people have a nice word like Kannadiga going for them but there is no word for Telugu people as a whole.

How about Telugus?

It's not a very convenient word. It's like referring to North Indians as Hindis or Bihari Muslims as Urdus - doesn't make much sense. If we start calling ourselves Telugus, then Amits will start pronouncing it tel-goose (तेलगूस ) which sounds like something you'd order in an expensive Gourmet restaurant.

Example: I would like to have a Roasted Tel-goose with chickpeas and cider gravy please.

Haha... making fun of North Indian accents should be more mainstream. "People from Bhimavaram are Tel-goose from 'waste' Godavari district!"

Besides, the word is not at all compatible for use with the English language. Suppose I want to mention that a particular gult fellow speaks horrible Telugu, I have to say something like,

"This Telugu's Telugu is horrible" -- the first Telugu refers to the person and the Telugu following it refers to the language. See it is ambiguous and confusing as opposed to "This gult's Telugu is horrible" which is simple, clear and direct.

G-word: 1 – 0: Telugus

Okay, how about Andhraites? People from Chennai are called Chennaites. I don’t know if they like the word but given that Bal Thackeray has ruined the word Madrasi for everybody, we’re not left with many options.

Nah! The word Andhraite is geographically binding. What about Telugu people who do not belong to the state of Andhra Pradesh, those settled in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Orissa etc. for generations? Should we call them Andhraites too, even if they have nothing to do Andhra?

It's just a convention that people can adopt

Let's assume all the gults from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Orissa, New Delhi, New Jersey, Atlanta, Texas, California, West Indies, Fiji islands and Zambia adopt the word Andhraites, Telangana people are still going object to it. Why would they let you call them Andhraites when they are Telanganites?

These T party fellows...

If a separate Telangana happens, we'll have to use two words then -- Andhraites and Telanganites. This is going to cause mayhem among the Non-Resident Gult community that they will insist on calling Avakai-Americans on the lines of African-Americans just to avoid the confusion!

Your ability to see the worst in everything continues to amaze me.

Thank you. Even if Telanganites and Avakai-Americans wholeheartedly accept the word Andhraite, I’d still refuse to use it for the simple reason that Andhraite sounds like some cheap Aluminium ore, something Vedanta Inc. would want to dig! For example, "Southern Orissa has a lot of Andhraites while the northern districts are rich in Bauxite".

Some people in Bangalore sometimes use the word Telgite which I think is even worse!

Haemetite, Magnetite, Andhraite, Bauxite, Cryolite, Telgite, Araldite, Pidilite... *purr*

Okay, that's enough!

What about the Last Syllable Nomenclature your father uses?

Yes he has developed his own system of stereotyping people. He calls Gults as Gu-bacchas. North Indians as Di-bacchas, and Americans as Ish-bacchas etc. But that doesn't go well with English. It is meant for non-serious conversations in Telugu/Bengali only.

Another common way of naming linguistic groups is by suffixing the noun with –ese like Chinese, Japanese etc. That would make you Telugese.

Seriously? Are we still doing this?

Sigh... there is no universal word for the Telugu speaking diaspora!

No, there is a word -- The G-word. Whether you like it or not, Gulti is the best word we have to universally refer to the Telugu speaking diaspora.

To be honest, I am little disappointed that you people are still arguing about these silly words. I mean, how can we have Gultisthan without the Gulti?


  1. How..? How can u write so much abt a this..? :P

  2. Excellent conversation, makes a lot of sense to me :D

  3. Bavarse is the secret of my energy :p

  4. GULTI as deciphered by an amit, Gaand Ulti Lend Tedhi Insaan.

  5. Entras doesnt cover whole diaspora - it refers to men in particular and non-classy people in general. So, it doesnt stand the whole/total.

  6. And you wanted to refer to Telugu people at America as Andhra-Americans?

  7. Haha funny article... tamilians call telugu people gultises and telugu people call tamilians aravam

  8. Nijamga ra baabu... to look at so many stupid angles of the dumbest possible thing shud be ur art.

  9. [Advanced apologies for exasperating nitpicks - as always]

    Andhraite came about because of Andhramu (=Telugu) and not because it is geographically binding. Tamilians (or appropriately Tamizhs) don't consider Tamil nadu as geographically binding. Otherwise, there won't be Sri Lankan Tamils. (BTW, being Tamils instead of Tamilians seem to work well enough for them)
    But, since Telugu-speakers can't even recognize the literary name of their own language, it is perhaps fitting to pick-up epithet from others as a proud badge.

    Perhaps, "Triling" is as appropriate as any. Refers to "Trilinga desam" origins, refers to our own trilling voices speaking it, and a bonus, "ling" in triling could form infinite fun for comedians of all stripes.

  10. So god!..Jai gulti :D

  11. Yes, by a 19 year old college Amit. I don't think anyone out of their teenage uses that :p

  12. adhe... @ScarySouthpaw daya valana Andhra kaastha Avakai aindhi :)

  13. I agree... it was a very weak argument. Even Marathi, Bengali etc. also fail at that... ex: "This Bengali's Bengali is bad" is equivalent to "This Telugu's Telugu is bad"

    The Andhraite word obviously sucks and I was throwing everything I had at it (which meant that I had to ignore the "Andhramu is Sanskrit for Telugu" part)

    Thanks for the Triling suggestion.. it seems worthy of inspection ;)

  14. Nice post amma! Was trying to enumerate a few points to a friend, but now, you seem to have put it across wonderfully Kadicho kadicho!

  15. Point well made. Gulti we are!
    Infact, my Tam friends find it a little weird that I call myself 'gulti' . Well why not? 'Gulti and proud' rather than 'charged' don't you think? :)

  16. hahaha... Amits's pronunciation of telugus... sooo trueee... and "Southern Orissa has a lot of Andhraites while the northern districts are rich in Bauxite" lol.....

  17. really good article :) hilarious too.
    i would suggest telugaa for telugu speaking people
    it sounds similar to kannadiga

  18. Telugodu is the word refered for telugu person.

  19. People from Tamil Nadu are called pandis, pronounced as pan-dees.

    People from Punjab are called saddu or pappe.

    People from Maharashtra are called beech-ka, because they are neither north nor south indians.
    People from Gujarat are gujjus or marwadis.

    People from Bengal are bangalees. Always wearing thick rimmed black glasses, long unkempt hair with side parting, always smelly, cigarette in one hand and booze in the other, and they think they're intellectuals.

  20. I'm part golti! and I'm 100% okay with being called that. In fact I look at people weirdly if they call me something else like telegite, andhraite,. But see here's the thing.

    I'm a proud Madrasi! Born and brought up here. I speak the proper "ANdhra" telugu not the crappy yucky tamil telugu the osthu-sepu-pothu types. so see I am a golti and my dads a mallu. I've have TONS on GOLTI friends and in all my 30 years I've never ever come across any golti except for this one reddy guy who was terribly fiercely offended by the word golti. Any other name kinda just sounds wrong. and I think people should get over it. Anglo's are called Dings, then we have the gujus the bongs the punju's the baniyas, except for GOA which conveniently can't get any shorter all of us have names. GET THE HELL OVER IT people. Seriously. Whatever the old meaning was has evolved and now allllllllllllll of us are goltis together. If someone asks the story for why its offensive , TELL THEM like its a ballad, anecdote like it's an interesting fun fact, and in reality your line should be offended but now we've alll evolved and progressing you're (supposedly) over it for generations!

    Everyone's happy. OKthanksbye

  21. I think people should stick to that for matrimonial

  22. If you know that tams are called pandis then you're either part mallu or have lotsa mallu friends. Cause only in kerala are tams referred to as pandis.

  23. Golties, mallus, pandis are termed as apt to south proud guys instead of scratching your heads. Te-Lu-Gu if reversed GU-LU-TE, so gulute becomes GOLTI....However if the word utters only to friends and known person no issue, for third party always an issue which is unacceptable by many telugu personnel.


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