Glossary
adivasi: indigenous communities on
the lower rungs of the caste system
or who do not participate within it;
also known as dalit
angrezi zamana: ‘‘English period’’; the
epoch of British rule
ayah: maid; domestic who cares for
children; woman who does
housekeeping and washing
babu: clerical and garden staff on the
plantation, usually Bengali
bagan: garden
bara aadmi: ‘‘big’’ person; person of
higher status
basha: house, home; staff cottage on
the plantation
bat: talk, usually informal
bhadra: civil; gentlemanly; describes
class gentility
bhadralog: gentleman, usually Bengali
bhagat: ritual master; faith healer;
shaman; doctor
bigha: unit of land; temporary worker
boidar: timekeeper; person who
checks attendance on the
plantation
burra sahib: senior manager; ‘‘big’’
sahib
burra memsahib: senior manager’s
wife
chota sahib: assistant manager; of
several ranks
chowkidar: watchman
coolie: plantation worker; someone
who does heavy manual work; a
disparaging term that is used
ubiquitously
cha: tea (Bengali); chai (Hindi)
daffadar: first-level garden overseer
daini: witch
daru: country liquor
didi: elder sister
dol: group; labor gang
faltu: of no use; temporary labor
firanghi: foreigner
garib log: poor people, often used
self-referentially
ghinna: repulsion
gora sahib: white or fair man, often in
reference to British men
handia: homebrew rice beer; also
known as pachwai
hat: country and local market
hukum: order
itihas: history
izzat: honor
jat: community, caste
jatra: drama; festival; dance
kam: work
kala aadmi: black person
kanun: rule, regulation
lal cha: red tea; liquor tea consumed
by workers and villagers
mahila samity: women’s organization
or society
maiji: workers’ term for wife of
babu/clerk, usually Bengali
mashal: home-made torch with open
flame, used to scare elephants
matal: drunkard; alcoholic
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