The Great Dahi Debate

October 29, 2010

What started as a debate grounded in mirth took a life of its own when I posted it on this public forum.

Friends, near and far, old and new, real and virtual, chimed in on IM, through e-mail, and in person to share their two cents about the gender of dahi (yogurt).

homemade yogurt 300x199 The Great Dahi DebateI hadn’t realized what a hot-button topic it was in Indian households across my readership base. Almost everyone who voted in favor of “hota hai” (masculine gender) said this was a moot question to begin with — this is how it’s been, and this is how it is. They contended it was “right” as opposed to “hoti hai” (feminine) which was just an “opinion.”

While they gave me examples of all liquids with the exception of lassi being masculine (case in point: paani), those on the other side of the war camp said “it just feels right to say thandikhatti, meethi.”

People sent me links to various online dictionaries or forums that made “their case” stronger. But no one could come up with the reason or etymology of the word’s masculinity.

As word spread on Twitter, strangers started chiming in, with most people taking a humorous approach to the whole issue. I saw many different alliances being formed — Punjabis versus UPites, east versus west Indians, parents versus children, husbands versus wives…

There were days when the hoti hai camp was way ahead of the hota hai camp, but as the closing date approached both parties were competing neck to neck. Here is the final count:

The hota hais have won the polls to quite satisfactorily end the debate in my house. But, I still want to get to the origins of this word. Some shabdkosh (dictionary) somewhere has got to have a definitive answer.

Thank you all for participating, for the entertainment, and the support. Even though this seems like a resolution, you know in your heart, like I do, it really isn’t icon smile The Great Dahi Debate

As I travel halfway across the world in the next month, my posts might be sporadic, but do keep checking back (or subscribe via e-mail or to the RSS feeds) to see if I was able to find a conclusive rule to end this Great Dahi Debate once and for all.

Update: Nov. 30, 2010: I did find conclusive evidence. Check it out.

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F The Great Dahi Debate

dp seal trans 16x16 The Great Dahi DebateCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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One Response to The Great Dahi Debate

  1. Settling the dahi gender debate | First Impressions on October 29, 2010 at 11:41 am

    […] you vote? Did your camp win? Click here to see the results. View […]


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