Adda (South Asian)

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An adda (Bengali: আড্ডা, Sylheti: ꠀꠣꠒ꠆ꠒꠣ) is a "conversation" among members, who were originally of the same socio-economic strata, but the process has democratized in modern times.[1]

Adda was incorporated into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004.

The Indian adda has shades of meaning attached to different languages:

  • In Hindi, adda is a noun, with the nominal form of the word meaning the location or nest of a group or community. The etymology can be traced to the original meaning of the word, which means the "perching spot or perch for birds".
  • In Bengali, adda is both a standalone noun and a noun in a noun - verb compound. The nominalization of the word has two senses - one being the Hindi sense, and the other being the place of ritual meeting and/or conversation of a group of people (i.e., a symposium or the 'Central Perk'). The verb form means informal conversation among a group of people, often for hours at an end, and usually accompanied by food. The Bengali institution of the adda has also been the subject of recent scholarly attempts to reconstruct alternative histories of modernity in South Asia.[2]

In 2011, filmmakers Surjo Deb and Ranjan Palit made a documentary on the subject.[3] The film, Adda: Calcutta, Kolkata has been screened at several festivals around the globe and won the Golden Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival 2012.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ The Chattering Masses The New York Times, 15 May 2005.
  2. ^ "Adda" on Archived 18 November 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Public Service Broadcasting Trust". Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  4. ^ Deb, Surjo (2 June 2012), Adda: Calcutta, Kolkata, retrieved 16 November 2016
  5. ^ "Upcoming Events | Adda: Calcutta/Kolkata | 3rd i". Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Mexico International Film Festival | 2012 Golden Palm Winners". 27 April 2012. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2016.