Is it rude to use the informal ‘tu’ when addressing someone? That is the question Twitter is currently busy debating after one user posted about her experience in Mumbai. “Never engage with Bombay people in Hindi. You could be complete strangers and they’ll still feel free to address you with a ‘Tu’,” wrote Twitter user @PratPanc, labelling it “unacceptable behaviour.”
Her tweet has sparked a debate on the correct usage of “aap” vs “tu” and evolved into a wider discussion on Delhi vs Mumbai.
Never engage with Bombay people in Hindi.
You could be complete strangers and they’ll still feel free to address you with a ‘Tu’.
— PratPanc (@PratPanc) February 5, 2023
So what’s the issue and why is Twitter busy debating the politics of tu vs aap? Well, in Marathi, tu is not considered disrespectful or informal. Many Mumbai residents therefore took offence at the tweet, saying that @PratPanc failed to recognise the nuances of language and culture by dismissing tu as a rude way to address someone.
Music composer Kaushal Inamdar joined the debate, noting that tu in Marathi is used with love. “We even call our Gods tu,” he wrote.
Bunkum. My son calls me ‘tu’ like many in this generation. In Marathi, ‘tu’ is used for love, not disrespect. We even call our Gods ‘tu’. Learn to understand the nuances of different cultures before exposing your ignorance. https://t.co/VVxsWXe7Ne
— Kaushal S Inamdar| कौशल इनामदार (@ksinamdar) February 7, 2023
Complains about Mumbai hindi being rude for using TU instead of AAP when in reality it isn't rude at all. Refuses to understand. Then goes on to be actually rude by bringing up follower count?? pic.twitter.com/gmtozfQWzZ
— Husbanding (@tapanwaval) February 6, 2023
I feel very uncomfortable when a total stranger addresses me as 'Tu'. I was disrespectfully spoken to in a Bombay bus many years ago. I had asked the conductor directions, and he had said, "Tereko aage jake khade hone ka." It was such a turnoff! I have never liked Bombay. https://t.co/TiUg7MEG4O
— Manimugdha Sharma (@quizzicalguy) February 7, 2023
Tu vs Aap:For me it's not an ego issue,it's a matter of courtesy &civility*. Having lived in #Lucknow in my early years, the tehzeeb is hard-wired into my brain.I can never refer to a stranger as "tu",regardless of their age,social status or gender."Tu" zubaan par aata hi nahi :) https://t.co/iCYkdfuMie
— nirupama kotru (@nirupamakotru) February 8, 2023
In the first week @ college, a classmate who had moved from Delhi thought of us as rude for saying 'tum' instead of 'aap' , and we thought she was too formal and didnt consider us friends.
Replacing random words with Marathi/Eng/Gujarati equivalents is perfectly normal. https://t.co/rHXHlHhz8r
— Prathamesh Godbole (@prathgodbole) February 7, 2023
And many just used the debate to crack jokes
There's a railway station in Andhra Pradesh called Tadipatri.
It's station code is TU, which, I think should immediately be changed to Aap.
— Parth MN (@parthpunter) February 8, 2023
north indians when atif aslam sings tu jaane na instead of aap jaane na pic.twitter.com/PEzJAL6O0c
— gordon (@gordonramashray) February 7, 2023
True Story - North Indians refer to the 90s classic "Tu tu main main" as "Aap Aap main main" pic.twitter.com/EtzL9tujw4
— Apoorva (@apoorva_42) February 8, 2023