Indians are not trapped by language barriers, but by economic, regulatory and caste barriers
Hindi maaloomnahin" (I don’t know Hindi) is a polite chant I remember from my childhood. My grandfather had moved to Delhi to live with us. Having spent all his life in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, he did not speak Hindi—and would practise this chant in case a stranger spoke to him. My sister and I would giggle at his three Hindi words, the slow pronunciation, and the emphasis on maaloom. In his crisp white veshti, he stuck out like a sore thumb while strolling in a Delhi neighbourhood park filled with second-generation post-Partition transplants who spoke Hindi and Punjabi with dazzling fluency. However, he was armed with his three Hindi words.