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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 Hilsa 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.
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 Eastern Bengal.
Though there are many exceptions, often it is considered that among the neighborhoods of Kolkata, North Kolkata is usually. There are approximately 5 lakh Hindu Ghoti in Kolkata, mostly in North Kolkata. This doesn't include Ghoti/Bangal mix population. Neither does it include Edeshi population. 5 lakh Ghoti Bengalis of Kolkata includes 1 lakh Brahmins and Baidyas, around 20,000 Bengali Rajputs who are different then other 40,000 Bengali Kshatriyas. Around 40,000 Bengali Kayasthas. Rest 3 lakh belong to numerous other castes from which Bengali Ghotis belong to Mahisya, Suvarna Banik and Gandha, Ugra Khatriyas, Tili and so on general castes. There are also namasudra castes in Kolkata.
Common Brahmin and Kayastha surnames within the Ghoti (West) Bengalis are Banerjee, Chatterjee, Mukherjee, Ganguly, Bhattacharya, Bose, Dutta, Gain, Ghosh, Mitra, Maity, Guha, Chakraborty, Sen, Pal, Sarkar, Majumdar, Tikadar, Haldar, etc. However, some Bangals (East Bengalis) also use these surnames.
Some of other surnames for Ghoti people include Roy, Kar, Jana,Mondal, Bagui, Chandra, Laha, Manna, Karak, and so on.
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 the Kolkata derby.
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.
- Swami Vivekananda
- Satyajit Ray
- Sukumar Ray
- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
- Satyendranath Bose
- Rashbehari Bose
- Uttam Kumar
- Manna Dey
- Sourav Ganguly
- Pradip Kumar Banerjee
- Hemant Kumar
- Sarada Devi
- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar
- Anupam Mukherjee
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