October 11th, 2008


Once upon a time....

I was talking with a girl who told a very different version of the story behind the naming of the Native Americans than I had ever heard before. I tried a bit to find some corroboration with parts of her story, but couldn't. Maybe y'all have heard some of this before, or at least find it amusing.

Back in the day, Columbus and the Western Europeans all called India 'Hindustan.' So, when he landed in America, he couldn't possibly have called the people 'Indians' after India, because nothing called 'India' existed. It was just him calling them 'In Deus' or something like that with bad Latin.

We shouldn't call them 'native' because they aren't, or 'American' because America didn't exist when they came over.

You can't call the people 'Indians' or 'Native Americans' anyway, because that generalization is highly offensive. The only appropriate names to use are modern tribal names.

Okay, I have heard that last bit, but sometimes people talk about Native Americans in general (like they do Europeans in general, etc.), so it seems reasonable to have a word for it.

Bengali Tom, Dick, and Harry?

Saurav Ganguly is an Indian cricketer who's got into some hot water over some remarks of his first reported in the Bengali newspaper Aajkal. In the English-language media, part of what he said was:

After all, I have played 400 matches for India. I have played badly in only one series. Yet every Tom, Dick and Harry is playing in the team.

I'm curious about the "Tom, Dick and Harry" bit. Is there a direct equivalent to the expression in Bengali? And if so, what is it?