Your Hindi word of the day: mawali

Your Hindi word of the day: mawali

Politicians are very useful people. Especially for people like me, who still have so much Hindi vocab to learn.

Yesterday, our esteemed Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, Ms Meenakashi Lekhi, described the farmers who have been protesting for nigh on a year now, as “mawali”.

Ah ha!

A word I didn’t know.

Googled it, as one does, and lo and behold:

That’s quite some word, clearly.

But not to worry.

The Minister subsequently withdrew the word saying her remark had been distorted.

So our protesting farmers are not mawali, after all.

But it’s probably a useful word to add to my vocabulary.

Or is it?

I found this rather hair-raising explanation of “mawali” on Quora:

Now, please, I need clarification from my Hindi speaking readers: namely is this a rude word in the mouth of the speaker (that would be me).

Is it as vulgar and uncouth to say the word, as the people it describes?


  1. Sanjeev Chhabra

    Yes you got it, mawali=gunda =rowdie

    In the movie Hum, when Rajnikant learns that his mild mannered brother Amitabh Bachchan was a roughneck in the past, he says in his Tamil accent,
    “Goonda, mavali”

    Yes the same as Rahul Dravid’s Cred ad “Goonda”
    (The actual word is Gunda, where the u sound like the u in Uno)

  2. Mad Shenker

    Christine I didn’t! I’m more of an angrezi with my vocab and enjoy learning new desi words. I miss visiting India as my spoken Hindi suffers so much when away. I actually have dialogue with myself in Hindi to keep up!

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