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Desi, what does it simply mean? Which countries does it include?[edit]

Simply the term "Desi" comes from Indo-Aryan Sanskrit meaning "land". Before editing the page and discriminating each other, consider the fact that how many countries in South Asia uses this term "Desi". Not just people from India, but from Sri Lanka Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives uses this term.

Who uses this term "Desi"? Every country that speaks languages that belongs to Indo-aryan/Sanskrit. That includes languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Sinhalese, Bengali, Divehi and Marathi.

You can see full list of languages in here,

So any country that speaks the languages can use the term Desi. See the list below, every language below have their own way of saying the same exact term "Desi", pronounced the same EXACT way! Assamese: দেশী, Bengali: দেশি, Gujarati: દેશી, Hindi: देसी, Kannada: ದೇಶಿ , Malayalam: ദേശി, Marathi: देशी, Sinhalese: දේශිය, Odia: ଦେଶୀ, Punjabi: ਦੇਸੀ / دیسی, Tamil: தேசி, Telugu: దేశీయుడు-desiyudu not as commonly used as Bharatyeeudu, Urdu: دیسی‎, Malay: desa, Sindhi: ديسي‎

Stop editing this post over whatever the hating propaganda you're trying to promote! — Preceding unsigned comment added by DesiKindInMahMind (talkcontribs) 04:23, 9 October 2016 (UTC)

Comment Do you know that Desi and it's variants translate to "local" or "native" and has nothing to do with South Asia? "Desi" is a Western, specifically American construct not a South Asian construct. Can you look at the sources and read them please, without deleting them and thinking no one has noticed? This is the third time I have told you do this, how long is it going to take for you to actually read them? No one is trying to discriminate anyone, why are you posting such accusations? ( (talk) 10:35, 11 October 2016 (UTC))

Please stop going back and forth with this! It was good enough when it said desi countries often include Bhutan, Maldives, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka! As a Sri Lankan, I indeed consider myself desi considering we have roots in India, whether Sinhalese or Tamil! Stop repeatedly changing it to Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are often considered desi countries and Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives may also be considered desi countries! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia is NOT based on opinion, so you shouldn't be stating your opinion, I don't care if you don't agree with it there are many things people don't agree with but they need to accept it. Look at the sources there is a reason why it has been written like that. I have suspicions that you're the same user as the user who started this whole thing because like them you failed to sign off with the tildes. I'm going to tell you this now, "sock puppetry" is a serious offence on Wikipedia. ( (talk) 11:22, 18 October 2016 (UTC))

No, not sock puppeting! This is my first time writing commentary on a talk page, genius, so I wasn't aware you had to sign with tildes! Just because I happen to agree with the other poster doesn't automatically mean sock-puppetry! And by the way, reference 5 did not provide a page regarding South Asians, so not exactly a good source of information. And while reference 2 and 3 only included Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi, reference 4 did include the other groups such as Nepali and Sri Lankan. Here, now I'll sign off with the tilde so you don't get your panties in a wad! (talk) 02:59, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

I suggest you familiarize yourself with the Wikipedia guidelines, you are not supposed to speak to me in that manner. I don't know who you are but please control your tongue. Yes those last sources do mention it but you can see major dictionary definitions do not refer to any other part of South Asia besides Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, hence why the introduction has been written like that, your opinion does not dictate what is on Wikipedia and what is not, please learn that. Source number 3 describes the varied definitions of Desi and is a good source and supports the information presented in the introduction. Also, look at source number 5 properly, if that means reading the entire book then do it because the information regarding South Asians is there. I never said you were a sock-puppet because you agree with the OP, don't put words into my mouth. I assumed you were a sock-puppet because they have made edits that appear to indicate their Sri Lankan heritage as well. Your overuse of exclamation marks alludes to the rhetoric used by the user who started this thing and "Please stop going back and forth with this!" indicates that you are well aware and part of this issue which is suspicious since this page is not frequented as much and the first edit you ever made was on a talk page. If this was your first edit then you wouldn't start with that statement, it makes it seem like you are the same user and that is an offence on Wikipedia. ( (talk) 07:14, 19 October 2016 (UTC))

OK, fine, but here are a couple more sources suggesting that the term desi is in fact used by Sri Lankans, Nepalis, etc.. to refer to themselves.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:33, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

And here is more evidence that the term "desi" includes other groups such as Sri Lankans or Maldivians in addition to Indians, Pakistanis, and Banglandeshis. (talk) 04:15, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Pakistanis are not "Desis"[edit]

I find this term being used to describe Pakistanis (and Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Nepalese) as almost comical. "Desi" is just another term for Indian and is barely used by anyone outside of India or the Indian diaspora. This just seems like another desperate attempt to try and "clump" everyone in South Asia together. Seems like colonial mentality refuses to die among Indians. "British India" was not a real country, it was an occupation by European colonialists from 1845 until 1947. And this article seems to have been written by someone who jerked off to a map of that joke called "Akhand Bharat".

I can't speak for Bangladeshis or Sri Lankans, but a majority of Pakistanis don't even share the same culture, language or even genetics to Indians. Pakistanis are Indus people, whereas Indians are mainly Gangetic (north Indian) or Dravidian (south Indian) peope. The genetic differences can clearly be seen in this genetic map which I've posted below.

Genetic differences between Pakistani ethnic groups and Indian ethnic groups

Genetic map of Pakistan

For further information, please refer to Human Genetic Clustering which clearly proves my point.

Pakistanis also speak and write languages based on the Persian-Urdu Alphabet (ie. Urdu, Pashto, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Kashmiri, Wakhi, Hindko, Seraiki, Brahui etc.) whereas Indians write in Sanskrit based script (I don't know the script I just took a guess).

95 odd years of British Indian occupation does not erase 9000 years of Indus culture and history that Pakistan adopted in 1947. So this article either needs to be re-written or simply deleted. Thank you.

@PAKHIGHWAY: you are talking approximately rubbish… Hindi and Urdu are basically the same language (minor lexical differences but basically, almost 100% inter-understandable), only the script used to write them is different. Pakistanis use an arabic-based script (and it's certainly not for 9000 years… huh… and yes, farsi also use an arabic-based script… so don't try to invent some other roots to the so-called "persian-urdu alphabet") while Indians use one of the various brahmic based scripts. Nothing colonial nor postcolonial here, except maybe your own racism. Your language come from the same regional area like northern indians, but your writing system come from the arabic peninsula (so… clearly not from the Indus valley). Your remark is truly racist. (talk) 21:49, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 15 February 2017[edit]

Can you please add these sources back in the introduction after the sentence, "Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka may also be considered "Desi" countries in some usages of the term".


I'm not sure why they were removed because they were included to show how the term differs in context and how they always include India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as opposed to other South Asian countries. (talk) 03:53, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit semi-protected}} template.  B E C K Y S A Y L E 16:52, 15 February 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Cram101 Textbook Reviews (26 September 2016). Racial and Ethnic Groups 13th Edition, Study Guide. Just the Facts101 Textbook Key Facts. CTI Reviews. ISBN 9781478415145. Retrieved 27 October 2016 – via Google Books.   This tertiary source summarizes another source in low detail.
  2. ^ Cram101 Textbook Reviews (16 October 2016). World Music, A Global Journey – Hardback and CD Set Value Pack 3rd Edition, Study Guide. Just the Facts101 Textbook Key Facts. CTI Reviews. ISBN 9781490299389. Retrieved 27 October 2016 – via Google Books.   This tertiary source summarizes another source in low detail.
@Becky Sayles: These sources were there since last year. They were removed so I'm only trying to reinstate them. ( (talk) 00:36, 16 February 2017 (UTC))
Fences and windows appears to have removed them here indicating "not a reliable source". If you disagree, please establish a consensus that the source is reliable and that they should be added back, before requesting this edit.  B E C K Y S A Y L E 01:21, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Okay. ( (talk) 01:37, 16 February 2017 (UTC))
The Cram101 books, aka Just the Facts 101, C.T.I. Reviews and Content Technologies Inc., are not OK to use as sources because these "books" copy their information from Wikipedia. Using them as a source would be circular referencing. See WP:PUS for more on such books and other suspect sources. Fences&Windows 07:52, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Here's another source: "Derived from the Hindi word desh or homeland, “desi” is a category of identification that has historically circulated within the South Asian diaspora in the United States. Scholars examining South Asian diasporic contexts have pointed out that the category has hegemonically functioned to privilege Indian, Hindu, middle-class, hetero-patriarchal ideologies within the immigrant locale (e.g., Maira 2002; Prashad 2000; Shukla 2003) ... the physical territories that are invoked in the definition of desi on indicate the counter-hegemonic politics supported by DRUM. In addition to the seven countries of South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and India), Africa, Fiji, Guyana, the United Kingdom, and Trinidad are also included as desi spaces given the substantial presence of people of South Asian descent in these regions."[1] Fences&Windows 08:14, 16 February 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Mallapragada, Madhavi (2014). "Rethinking Desi: Race, Class, and Online Activism of South Asian Immigrants in the United States". Television & New Media. 15 (7): 664–678. doi:10.1177/1527476413487225. 
@Fences and windows: Thanks for clearing that up, I saw something similar in your edit summary and I was confused as to what you were referring to but I understand now. I guess it's quite subjective as most definitions refer to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh only. Even the official definition at Oxford Dictionaries says, "A person of Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi birth or descent who lives abroad". ( (talk) 10:51, 16 February 2017 (UTC))

Pakistanis are NOT Desi 2.0[edit]

I have removed any mention of Pakistan in this joke of article and will continue removing Pakistan until I find substantial evidence that any self-respecting Pakistani (or South Asian for that matter who isn't from India) would consider calling him or herself "desi". This term is completely foreign to me and continuously shoving other countries into this joke of a article is just lame. Under what basis are you claiming that Pakistanis and Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis are "desi". Who says? A couple of random internet articles? Please.

Term usage[edit]

This term is foreign to Pakistanis. The only place where I have heard "desi" ever being used is northeast Punjab. Nobody in the rest of Punjab or the rest of Pakistan for that matter uses the term "desi". It's completely foreign to us.

@PAKHIGHWAY: since Punjab is in Pakistan, at least some pakistanis refer to themselves as Desi people, according to your own words… So, why this drama? (talk)

Definition of "desi" is different in Pakistan[edit]

The term "desi" in northeast Punjab also means something different than what this joke of article is trying to explain. For Punjabis in the northeast, desi has two meanings:

  • 1st meaning: "desi" is defined as "local" or "native"

I don't understand why a Punjabi would call him or herself a "desi" in Britain or the United States when he or she isn't even local or native of that country.

  • 2nd meaning: "desi" is defined as "older" or "pure"

For example, when comparing ghee there is valaiti ghee and desi ghee.

Debunking the genetic basis[edit]

If the term "desi" is being used because we share similar genetics, then I'm sorry to break it to you but Pakistani ethnic groups and Indian ethnic groups share no similarities whatsoever. In fact, the difference are quite distinct. Pakistani ethnic groups (Indus nations) share similar genetic makeup which starkly differs that of North Indian ethnic groups (Gangetic nations) and South Indian ethnic groups (Dravidian nations). The information was compiled by Human genetic clustering studies.

  • Genetic differences between Pakistani ethnic groups and Indian ethnic groups

  • Genetic map of Pakistan

@PAKHIGHWAY: nobody here except yourself is talking about races or genetics… it's a matter of cultures from the indian subcontinent and influence area (talk) 22:09, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Debunking the linguistic basis[edit]

If the term "desi" is being used because we share similar languages, then sorry again...but we don't share the same languages either.

  • Script:

All Pakistani languages are written using the Persian-Urdu Nastaliq script, whereas Indian languages are written in Brahmic scripts.

  • Groups:

All Pakistani languages are either Indo-Aryan, Dardic or Iranian languages, whereas Indian languages are mainly Dravidian.

@PAKHIGHWAY: Are you kidding people here? Hindi and Urdu are basically the same language. Just the script used to write them is different (Urdu is written in an arabic based script, while Hindi is written on Brahmic/Devanegari based script). Can you promise if you are an Urdu speaker that you cannot speak with an Hindi speaker without lying? Certainly not. In India, Dravidian languages are languages from the very south, like Kannada. Most of India speak Indo-Aryan languages dude. Don't try to smoke people and bully the encyclopedia with your fake facts. (talk) 22:09, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Debunking the ethnic basis[edit]

The most hilarious thing I find is when people say "Pakistanis and Indians are the same" as if Pakistani or Indian is an "ethnic" term. These are political terms that define several ETHNIC GROUPS that reside in both countries. The only ethnic group that is found in both Pakistan and India are PUNJABIS...and in Pakistan, Punjabis are only found in the northeastern part of Punjab province. The rest is inhabited by Seraikis, Hindkowans and Pahari people. Other than that, there is no significant large populations that are found in both countries. Even the Indian Muslims who came to Pakistan in 1947 were no more than 4-6 million. So you're telling me 4 to 6 million people are going to define 190 million people today?

@PAKHIGHWAY: don't play fool. Desi is a matter of regional culture, and people from the Indian subcontinent and Indus valley share some common characteristics on the cultural continuum, despite having many different ethnics and languages... just like the french, the spanish, the british and the german do. Desi is a term used to refer to that fact. (talk) 22:09, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

Give your head a big shake. So it's incredibly stupid to use this word as an ethnonym when we already have our own identity Pakistanis or Overseas Pakistanis. --PAKHIGHWAY (talk) 20:33, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

@PAKHIGHWAY: The source next to the information confirms that they are considered "Desi". The claims you're bringing up do not support what is "Desi" and what is not. Please understand that Wikipedia does not support POV edits. Just because you may not agree with it doesn't mean it's incorrect, the source exemplifies that. ( (talk) 02:07, 4 March 2017 (UTC))
@ This is not a POV, these are facts that I have presented and legitimate questions I have raised. If you can't digest facts, then I'm sorry. --PAKHIGHWAY (talk) 15:50, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
@PAKHIGHWAY: No it appears to be POV since sources already listed on the page say Pakistan is a Desi country. You have not provided any sources that state "Pakistan is not a Desi country", have you? Desi is not determined by ethnicity, if you didn't know, it's more of a cultural descriptor. There was no need to say, "If you can't digest facts, then I'm sorry", this is Wikipedia after all. If you can't answer in a sensible manner then I'm going to take this to the Admin noticeboard to get a third opinion. ( (talk) 00:03, 5 March 2017 (UTC))
@PAKHIGHWAY: [I see from your userpage that you're taking a break, but pinging anyway in case you return.] It's not just a question of whether a "self-respecting Pakistani" would call him/herself desi, but also whether a first- or second-generation Pakistani-American might be drawn to the term. Or indeed whether a young (non-Pakistani) activist might want to expand desi to include Sri Lankans, some Pakistanis, etc. in order to promote the idea of south-asian solidarity. You might not like it, but these seem to be ways that the word is being used in certain parts of the world.
It would be great if the article could explain these nuances better, but as always good sources are a challenge.
Pelagic (talk) 21:22, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Pelagic: I should delete that break message now, since I am actually back. At the moment I'm busy with Pakistan Railways and related articles. I have read what you wrote and I understand where you're coming from. If that's the case, then this article should make it clear that American immigrants of South Asian background consider themselves desi, and not Pakistanis or Sri Lankans or whomever. The thing that I have noticed on Wikipedia is a concerted effort by Indians in particular to merge all South Asian nationalities into an "Indian" umbrella. Furthermore, the article in question (Desi) uses ridiculous biased Indian news sources which have business being called real news. Anyhow, I do have plenty of authentic sources in my mind, but it will take time for me to gather them all up. Once I get them, I'll happily share them in the talk section and request the admins to make necessary changes if they deem my sources as credible. --PAKHIGHWAY (talk) 22:07, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
I second PakHighways comments. These words are strongly stereotypical and not supported by a single verifiable anthropological source. Popular culture terms are not acceptable on an encyclopedia, except for the mention that it's a loose term used in popular culture.--NadirAli نادر علی (talk) 01:19, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
Not a single one of these claims can be verified by a non-biased source. Similarly, Indo-Aryan languages are actually the dominant languages in India, too, so they aren't 'Mainly Dravidian' at all. Hindi, the Bihari languages, Marathi, Gujarati, Kashmiri and the Dardic languages, Assamese, Bengali are ALL Indo-Aryan --Theudariks (talk) 18:01, 24 October 2017 (UTC)

Several sources including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives as desi nations[edit]

Here we have several sources that support the assertion that desi nations include Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Maldives as well as Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:08, 7 April 2017 (UTC) (talk) 01:55, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Phonetics incorrect[edit]

In the sentence- Desi is an Indo-Aryan term that ultimately originates in the Sanskrit देश (deśa) "region. The pronounciation indicated "deśa" is incorrect as it is instead written as देसा. On the other hand, देश will be written as "desh" in English characters. I am a native speaker of and academic in Hindi Aishpan (talk) 18:24, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Who is criticizing the term?[edit]

At the end there it says that the term is "strongly criticized". Who is crticizing it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2620:101:F000:702:110D:206B:A37E:9C59 (talk) 04:30, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

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