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The History of the Indian Revolt and of the Expeditions to Persia, China and Japan 1856-7-8
George Dodd


Orthography.– It is perfectly hopeless to attempt here any settlement of the vexed question of Oriental orthography, the spelling of the names of Indian persons and places. If we rely on one governor-general, the next contradicts him; the commander-in-chief very likely differs from both; authors and travellers have each a theory of his own; while newspaper correspondents dash recklessly at any form of word that first comes to hand. Readers must therefore hold themselves ready for these complexities, and for detecting the same name under two or three different forms. The following will suffice to shew our meaning: – Rajah, raja – nabob, nawab, nawaub – Punjab, Punjaub, Penjab, Panjab – Vizierabad, Wuzeerabad – Ghengis Khan, Gengis Khan, Jengis Khan – Cabul, Caboul, Cabool, Kabul – Deccan, Dekkan, Dukhun – Peshawur, Peshawar – Mahomet, Mehemet, Mohammed, Mahommed, Muhummud – Sutlej, Sutledge – Sinde, Scinde, Sindh – Himalaya, Himmaléh – Cawnpore, Cawnpoor – Sikhs, Seiks – Gujerat, Guzerat – Ali, Alee, Ally – Ghauts, Gauts – Sepoys, Sipahis – Faquir, Fakeer – Oude, Oudh – Bengali, Bengalee – Burhampooter, Brahmaputra – Asam, Assam – Nepal, Nepaul – Sikkim, Sikim – Thibet, Tibet – Goorkas, Ghoorkas – Cashmere, Cashmeer, Kashmir – Doab, Dooab – Sudra, Soodra – Vishnu, Vishnoo – Buddist, Buddhist, &c. Mr Thornton, in his excellent Gazetteer of India, gives a curious instance of this complexity, in eleven modes of spelling the name of one town, each resting on some good authority – Bikaner, Bhicaner, Bikaneer, Bickaneer, Bickanere, Bikkaneer, Bhikanere, Beekaneer, Beekaner, Beykaneer, Bicanere. One more instance will suffice. Viscount Canning, writing to the directors of the East India Company concerning the conduct of a sepoy, spelled the man’s name Shiek Paltoo. A fortnight afterwards, the same governor-general, writing to the same directors about the same sepoy, presented the name under the form Shaik Phultoo. We have endeavoured as far as possible to make the spelling in the narrative and the map harmonise.

Vocabulary.– We here present a vocabulary of about fifty words much used in India, both in conversation and in writing, connected with the military and social life of the natives; with the initials or syllables P., Port., H., M., A., T., Tam., S., to denote whether the words have been derived from the Persian, Portuguese, Hindustani, Mahratta, Arabic, Tatar, Tamil, or Sanscrit languages. Tamil or Tamul is spoken in some of the districts of Southern India. In most instances, two forms of spelling are given, to prepare the reader for the discrepancies above adverted to:

Ab, aub (P.), water; used in composition thus: Punjaub, five waters, or watered by five rivers; Doab, a district between two rivers, equivalent in meaning to the Greek Mesopotamia.

Abad (P.), inhabited; a town or city; such as Allahabad, city of God; Hyderabad, city of Hyder.

Ayah (Port.), a nurse; a female attendant on a lady.

Baba (T.), a term of endearment in the domestic circle, nearly equivalent to the English dear, and applied both to a father and his child.

Baboo, a Hindoo title, equivalent to our Esquire.

Bag, bágh, a garden; Kudsiya bágh is a celebrated garden outside Delhi.

Bahadoor (P.), brave; a title of respect added to the names of military officers and others.

Bang (P.), an intoxicating potion made from hemp.

Bazar, bazaar, an exchange or market-place.

Begum (T.), a princess, a lady of high rank.

Bheestee, bihishtí, a water-carrier.

Bobachee, báwarchí (T.), an Indian officer’s cook.

Budgerow, bajrá (S.), a Ganges boat of large size.

Bungalow, banglá (H.), a house or dwelling.

Cherry, cheri (Tam.), village or town; termination to the name of many places in Southern India; such as Pondicherry.

Chit, chittí (H.), a note or letter.

Chupatty, chápátí (P.), a thin cake of unleavened Indian-corn bread.

Coolie, kuli (T.), a porter or carrier.

Cutcherry, kacharí (H.), an official room; a court of justice.

Dacoit, dákáit (H.), a gang-robber.

Dâk, dahk, dawk (H.), the Indian post, and the arrangements connected with it.

Dewan, a native minister or agent.

Dost (P.), a friend.

Feringhee, a Frank or European.

Fakeer, fakír (A.), a mendicant devotee.

Ghazee, ghazi (A.), a true believer who fights against infidels: hence Ghazeepoor, city of the faithful.

Golundauze, golandáz (P.), a native artilleryman.

Havildar (P.), a native sergeant.

Jehad (A.), a holy war.

Jemadar (P.), a native lieutenant.

Jhageerdar, jaghiredar, jágírdár (P.), the holder of land granted for services.

Mohurrum (A.), a fast held sacred by Mohammedans on the tenth day of the first month in their year, equivalent to the 25th of July.

Musjid (A.), a mosque; thence jumma musjid or jum’aah masjid, a cathedral or chief mosque.

Naik, naig (S.), a native corporal.

Náná, nena (M.), grandfather, a term of respect or precedence among the Mahrattas; Náná Sahib, so far from being a family or personal name, is simply a combination of two terms of respect (see Sahib) for a person whose real name was Dhundu Punt.

Nawab, nabob, núwáb (A.), derived from náib, a viceroy or vicegerent.

Nuddee, nadi (S.), a river.

Nullah, nálá (H.), a brook, water-course, the channel of a torrent.

Patam, pattanam (S.), a town; the termination of the names of many places in Southern India; such as Seringapatam, the city of Shrí Ranga, a Hindoo divinity.

Peon (P.), a messenger or foot-attendant.

Pore, poor, a town; the final syllable in many significant names, such as Bhurtpore or Bharatpoor, the town of Bharata.

Rajpoot, a Hindoo of the military caste or order; there is one particular province in Upper India named from them Rajpootana.

Ryot, a peasant cultivator.

Sahib, saheb, sáaib (A.), lord; a gentleman.

Sepoy, sípahí, in the Bengal presidency, a native soldier in the Company’s service; in that of Bombay, it often has the meaning of a peon or foot-messenger.

Shahzadah (P.), prince; king’s son.

Sowar (P.), a native horseman or trooper.

Subadar, soubahdar (A.), a native captain.
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