Karachi Language BiographySource (google.com.pk )
I must confess from the outset of this article that I have been known as an avid user of the following phrases, which makes this, an insider’s guide. Over the years and with my descent into the life of an overseas professional, my use and accent have started to deteriorate and I cannot affirm the hardcore nature of how I use these phrases now. In other words, if I were to go to parts of Laloo Khait today and repeat these oft repeated stances, I will expect laughter from all around. I am slightly ashamed of loosing my street credibility, which took great care and concealment (from the elders) over my teenage years to perfect. Yet now only residues of those hardcore stanzas remain. Such is the nature of economic displacement. I would also like to declare my undying love of the street language, which however profane and uncivil, still comes from the heart of any urban city. Thus if we look around us we will find a genre of street phrases that populate the linguistics of an average day in all civilisations. It is the language of choice and is the only accepted form of communication in places. The high and mighty accents of the world have had to enshroud themselves in the high walls of civil society and four walled enclosures of civil languages. I have utmost respect for them, as they are the chosen medium of knowledge, literature and information. Having said that my affection for the street language and the freshness it contain within the short sentences remain intact. It is as though through the myriad of changes, someone from within still relates to these words as though they are calls from the past. Even now on one of my trips to Karachi and when I overhear it in its natural environment, I find myself smiling over the further original development of this street language.
The Classes and Street Language
Although this form of language originates primarily from the lower class areas it is found to be extremely popular with the cool young upper class elites. This phenomenon can be accounted to the nature of numbed rebellion that is found in the various upper classes of the world. Thus when we see the Young Elites of defence miming these street phrases we can relate them to the upper class whites in the US trying hard to imitate their poor black counterparts from the ghettos of Harlem. However these rich pretenders are easily identifiable with their Anglo-Urdu accent. A particular example of this will be your average grammarian from KGS. I assure you these hardcore phrases become almost comical when repeated by a grammarian, therefore do not find it surprising when you pass through “Saddar” and have common people in splits with laughter around the elite school.
“Chal bay Chal Patli gali pakar”
This particular statement dates back to the 80s and has its roots in the Umar Sharif Era of cheap and ludicrous theatre. The statement is used for an ultimate refusal. It gained popularity during the 90s and had since then claimed it place with the pearls. The first three letters are used in a more common form with almost any sort of denial. The idea of a “Patli Gali” or a narrow street comes from the structural development of (for want of use of a better word) the lower class areas within Karachi. As a kid I can remember visiting these areas on a few occasions and have always been enchanted with the maze like nature of these interlinking networks of “patli galis”.
“Abay kiya Chariya hua hay”
“Chariya” literally means insane and thus this sentence would translate into the American phrase “ Are you Insane”. However its use has become slightly sophisticated over the years, where the word “Chariya” has taken on some form of coolness on the street. Therefore someone foolishly brave will be considered an apt recipient of the title “Chariya”. It is again used extensively across the landscape of the city and has transcended the dividing lines of opulence. Certain political characters have also found fame with the use of this title, with the case in point of the now deceased “ Aslam Chariya”.
“Phat Gae, Phar Di, Phati hai”
There are two themes to this particular line. First has to do with Fear and basically resonates someone’s fear of something or basically being afraid. The second theme refers to what I would hereafter call as the denotation of human anatomy. The theme might be quite violent as it basically means the tearing up of the posterior. Thus when espousing a violent threat people have been known to use the terms “Phar Doonga”. Although with time the gist of this statement has become relaxed and is now used as one of the pearls of street language.
I must confess I do not understand the inference of this slang with the particular female genitalia. This is a highly potent adaptation of the word “stupid”. Again over the time this has also become a highly used word. In literature this word goes back a few centuries and will feature in various biographies and memoirs of great men.
The most non potent slang which is common place in the street and men have been known to use in the presence of female company. The other meaning of this word is used to address the brother in laws. If it has arisen over the annals of history as contempt for brothers in law, I do not know.
In Islam we are all aware of the word haram, and the doer of haram as the verb will have it, becomes a harami. The other street adaptation of this word is someone who is cunning, shrewd or “ Done you over” as the British would say. An interesting use of the this word has recently arisen in the immigrant communities in the west from Pakistan, in reference to the everything haram e.g Harami Burger, Harami Chicken which basically refers to haram food.
“Tight Hai Mama”
This is basically a young man’s reaction to seeing a beautiful young woman. The word “tight” does not refer to the tautness of the various important bits of the female anatomy. It is a cheap and cheerful word for your every day admiration and essentially means well. The word “Mama” or “Mamay” originates from the word “Mammoo” which basically means Maternal Uncle. Increasingly however it is, used by the street maestros to refer to each other.
“Kancha Piece hai”
Again this is as the previous example, used to admire a beautiful woman. Kancha originates from Kaanch which, mean glass manifesting clarity. If you are a “Kanncha Maal” then consider yourself hot property.
If you are a pretty female and have the misfortune of travelling by bus or in a crowded bazaar, you will without a doubt hear the chants of Katto and Katto Pari aimed at you. Now I might be right to assume that unless you have the misfortune of having a nickname that is Katto, you will be highly offended. This again is admiration in its most raw form.
This word provides evidence of the emancipation of the urban female in Pakistan. Mostly used to admire beautiful women, it is increasingly used by women to refer to a good looking man. Who says we are not a progressive nation and do not include our women in our development process.
“Tanagay utha Dayna”
This is basically used to connote someone doing something to someone else that ended in them being sorted or the other party to get what they deserve. Again I am confused as to the exact premise of this phrase.
To make fun of someone is basically what this phrase refers to. Something that people might charge the author of this piece to be doing with the precious time of all the esteemed Chowkies.
So here you have it ladies and gentlemen, a few of the gems of profanity that litters the communication of our nation. I have not referred to some of the very profane ones which are most frequented with sexual references to the Sisters and Mothers, in order to not offend the readers. However they too have become commonplace and are used with fervour and in the friendliest of places without a twitch of an eye. Profanity and the street languages are a reality too stark for us to ignore. They can be refreshing when it comes to the non-potent ones and can be more articulate and acute than any of most eloquent of phrases. We all use it, laugh at it and get offended by it at times. Lets be honest guys, Profanity, we wouldn’t be the same without it.
I do not apologise for anything in this article.
The New Urban Slang Dictionary of Karachi - PG-21+ (language)
I always wanted to write something; anything about the Karachi(s) street language but I have to confess; even I didn’t had the guts to write or to simply put the words on paper. But then today, my other, “alter-ego” which I recently named, “who-cares” forced me to write and here I am with an amateur try or the new Urban Dictionary of words which prorably everyone of us might have used in our lives. Mind You, this is rated: PG-21 (language & sexual content).what I call the new street-slang-dictionary of Karachi. Here(s) a try!
Bach-o-da (adjective; personality attribute): commonly referred to a “blagger” but normally used to tell someone(s) devilish behavior.
Harami (adjective): A multi-dimensional word and prorably the most common term used by an average Karachite to brand someone a “devil”- in a good way (personality attribute) or to brand someone as “wicked”.
Randi-Rona (Verb/Adverb, English translation: Crying Prostitute): An amazing word which originated from Bombay (Manto’s Lingo) and often referred to people who always cry and does not accept anyone’s opinion. Cry Baby.
Chutiya/Chay (adjective; personality attribute): “dumb ass” or someone(s) who does not have the same level of intellect
Originated from a cast of Punjab which is into “arts & craft” as profession. A term used to demonize someone’s action.
Bhanchud (English Translation: Sister Fucker – self explanatory): Prorably the nations favorite “word” and is used by people for anything and everything.
Madar’chood (adjective; English Translation: Mother Fucker – self explanatory): Pakistan(s) second favorite word which is a bit extreme expression. Used in extreme circumstances to point at someone’s nature.
Gan’du (adjective/verb):Used to refer to a “gay man” mostly but also used to point to someone’s personality attribute – selfishness
Randi (adjective; English translation: Prostitute): Commonly used for anyone girl who rejects; or used for every modern girl – equalent to a “slut” or a “whore”.
Gand Marde (verb): Used to describe “Brutes-Like” action of a friend. Back Stabbing.
Laindi Kuta (noun/adjective. English Translation: Stray Dog): Used to describe someone’s habit of always being out of his house.
Bosri Kay/Ka(adjective): basically referred to someone’s action of cheapness…(often used when correcting someone).