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Chuddies here to stay in English

Prince Charles, heir apparent to the British crown, during a dinner at Windsor Castle hosted for South Asians, says the Punjabi word for underwear has been accepted.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2007 17:48 IST

Extolling what he called the "splendidly unstoppable" South Asian contributions in Britain, Prince Charles, the heir apparent to the British crown, told a dinner thrown for 200 Asian guests at Windsor Castle that the word chuddie - Indian word for underwear - is here to stay in the English language.

"I must say I am constantly struck by the fact the Britons of every origin in fact share more in common than they think," Charles said in his speech to the celebrity guests at the gala dinner.

"The sharing of language is a further case in point. The most well-known examples are probably 'bungalow', 'verandah' and, indeed, 'shampoo'."

"And more recently, chuddies seemed to have crept into the English language - if that is the correct way to put it," he told guests who included actor-couple Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal, cricketer Saj Mahmood, author Vikram Seth and actor Art Malik.

A day after Hindus anointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown as Govardhan Brown on Diwali at the House of Commons, Charles' mention of chuddies at Windsor Castle - his mother Elizabeth II's 900-year-old official residence - risked lowering the tone of celebrations a bit.

But it was an occasion for humour and the British royal made his risqué reference fully aware that it was Bhaskar and Syal, the creators of the BBC comedy series Goodness Gracious Me, who first put the word chuddie in the lexicon of the evolving English language.

The word became famous after Bhaskar and Syal coined the phrase "kiss my chuddies" in their serial. And in 2005, it was officially entered into the Collins English Dictionary.

In his wide-ranging speech Charles paid handsome tributes to the Asian community in Britain saying people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had enriched Britain through their contributions in economy, arts, sport, music, food and - of course - language.

The special dinner, he said was to celebrate the community on the 60th anniversary of India's and Pakistan's independence.

"So much has been written, and so much said, about the way that this remarkable shift of population has shaped modern Britain. We hear a great deal about the difficulties such migration can cause. But rarely, if ever, do we seem to find a moment to recognise the remarkable contribution which it has made to the social and economic fabric of this country," Charles said, adding: "The spotlight always seems to fall elsewhere..."

"That is why I was so keen to invite you to Windsor this evening: to shine a light on the diversity and quality of the skills present in this room and the still larger pool of talent that you represent; to celebrate the ways in which you have enriched Britain, in every sense; and to celebrate the fact that the groundswell of achievement of the South Asian community in this country seems splendidly unstoppable - to our great benefit!"

The Prince of Wales also drew a connection between himself and India, pointing out that he shared his birthday - the 14th of November - with Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, and that "I was nearly conceived in 1947." He was born a year later.

"We all have a role to play in shaping our society on the basis of tolerance and understanding. This is not always easy. Younger people of all ethnic backgrounds are trying to work out just where they fit in," Charles said.

"What I have learnt from my travels is that by listening and trying to understand before we act we stand a better chance of coming up with the right answers."

First Published: Nov 17, 2007 11:27 IST