|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
Ghoti (Bengali: ঘটি), also called Paschimbangiya (Bengali: পশ্চিমবঙ্গীয়) or Edeshi (Bengali: এদেশী), are a social group native to West Bengal (Paschimbanga), India. Their dialects, folk traditions (Lokachar) and cuisine are distinct from those of the Purbabangiyas or the natives of erstwhile eastern Bengal.
The term came into greater use after many people from Bangladesh (then East Bengal and later East Pakistan) migrated to West Bengal during and after the Partition of Bengal in 1947. Initially there was a cultural and sociological clash between the native population and the refugees.
Ghotis are frequently distinguished by their Bangla accent and use of certain local dialects and figures of speech that Bangals in general would not use. Also, certain sweets, like Sponge Rosogolla, Ledikeni, Langcha, Mihidana, Rasakadamba, Rajbhog, Gopalbhog are known to originate in Western Bengal.
Amongst the Bengali Hindus of India, "Bangal" and "Ghoti" are used as social sub-groups indicating the ancestral origin of a family. Those whose families came from East Bengal are Bangals and those whose families originated in West Bengal are Ghotis. The term 'Bangal' as used here has little relation to actual geography, since most members of these groups all now live in India. The term is used freely and not considered derogatory within this social class.
There are many differences found in the cultural events, food or sports where the Bangals love Ilish and the Ghoti love Ching-ri (Prawns), the Bangals celebrate Lakshmi puja in the fifth day after Durga Puja and the Ghoti perform Lakshmi puja (mostly in home only) on the Kali Puja day.
The exact origin of the word Ghoti is unknown. It is presumed that the word was derived from Bandyaghoti. The Bandyaghotis were a section of Rarhi Brahmins who migrated from Bardhaman to eastern Bengal, where they were referred as Ghotis. Gradually, the people of western Bengal became collectively known as Ghotis. Another presumption is that the Bandyaghotis brought the sacred ghat with them along with their Shaligram to the eastern Bengal. For this reason they were known as Ghotis or the people who bring ghat.
However, there is a subtle difference between the terms "Ghoti" and "Edeshi"(of this country). "Ghoti" is specifically used to refer to people living in Districts like Hooghly, Howrah, Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, Burdwan, Bankura, Birbhum, etc. i.e. South Bengal west of the Hugli river. The native people of districts like North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Maldah, Uttar Dinajpur,etc. i.e. east of the Hugli river but within West Bengal, can be referred to as "Edeshi" as they are not of refugee Bangal background and are native to West Bengal, yet the culture, cuisine and language of these regions represent a transition between Western and Easternn Bengal.
Though most surnames among Bengali Hindus are common to both Ghotis and Bangals, like Roy/Ray, Das, Chokroborty, Mukherjee, Benarji/Bondopaddhay, Chatterjee/Chottopaddhay, Ganguly/Gonggopaddhay, Kar, Biswas, Sadhu, Shil, Sen, Saha, Sirkar/Sarkar, Das, Mondol, Saha, Majumdar, Dutto/Dutta, Talukder, Lahiri, Mitra/Mitter, Moitro/Maitra,Bagchi Khan etc.
Some surnames are specific only to Ghotis and Edeshis, like Daw,Dawn,Ghosh,Adak, Adhikary, Bagui, Bhaduri,Bor or Bar, Daffadar, Dandapat,Dolui, De, Dey, Gorai, Guin, Chowdhury, Hazra, Hela, Jana, Karan, Karak, Karmakar, Kundu, Laha, Maity, Middye, Modak,Maji, Nag, Nandi, Naskar, Nayak, Neogi, Paik, Pain, Pal, Panja, Patra, Sadhu, Sadhukhan, Samanta, Sardar, Sapui, Sasmal, Sett, She-al, Sinha, Tarafder, Topdar, Mihiracharyaa etc.
Similarly some surnames are particular to Bangals, like Bose,Kushari, Pututunda, Ghosh Dastidar, Deb, Deb-nath,Deb-ray, Malakar, Nath, Guha, Guha-Thakurta, Gupto, Dasgupta, Lahiri(y), Sengupta, Nandi, Shorma, Sil, Shil, Sheel, Shilsharma,Dash-Shorma, Deb-Shorma, Dash-Munshi, Munshi, Dewanji, Munshiji, Kannungo/Qannungoh, Mahalanobis, Purakayastha/Purkait, etc. Also, when two surnames are fused into one like RoyChoudhury, Sengupta, Duttagupta (not when a married woman combines her maiden and married surname), usually such surnames belong to only "Bangals".
Though there are many exceptions, often it is considered that among the neighborhoods of Kolkata, North Kolkata is usually dominated by the Ghotis (the river ghats of Bengal or from ghat side ), whereas South Kolkata is more cosmopolitan with various communities including non-Bengalis residing. Thus, places like Shyambazar, Shobhabazar, Bagbazar, Bowbazar, Maniktala, Jorasanko etc. are known to have a "Ghoti" majority and are considered to be centres of Ghoti culture and cuisine. Whereas the southern neighborhoods, like Ballygunge, Bhowanipore, Alipore, Rashbehari Avenue, Dhakuria, Gariahat, Jadavpur, Hazra Road, Kasba, Tollygunge, Garia, and Jodhpur Park does have a slight "Bangal" influence but frequently identified with cosmopolitan Bengalis and their culture, cuisine and identity. Usually Elite Ghotis inhabited South Kolkata and are identified as being more modern, liberal and fashionable than their North Kolkata counterparts. This is mainly because South Kolkata is comparatively newer and developed much later than old North Kolkata, but it is also comparably cleaner than its northern counterpart. Hence some of the well-to-do Ghotis and Bangals of the elite extract settled in these localities. Fashionable and posh localities like Ballygunge and Bhowanipore were chosen by the earliest Bangals and a few Ghotis - from the upper and the middle class - as their homes in the 19th century.
Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal
Traditionally Bengali people like football and most of the Ghotis are supporters of Mohun Bagan AC whereas the Bangals are traditionally supporters of East Bengal Club. Though there are several exceptions but in general both these communities share an immense rivalry between them regarding Mohun Bagan - East Bengal football match.
They also cherish a rivalry through claim of supremacy of their respective cuisines and especially river-food delicacies, i. e., Chingri (prawn) for Ghotis and Ilish (hilsa) for Bangals.