Glossary
adibasi/adivasi
Lit. original dweller. Adopted by radicals among the
tea labour community in Assam, in emulation of groups in today’s
Jharkhand and Chattisgarh regions, where their ancestors originated.
Also known as Tea Tribes, after the o≈cial usage modelled on the 6th
Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Sometimes the term baganiya
(people of the bagan/garden) is also used.
ahu
Short-maturing rice, suitable for dry farming. Often cultivated with
hoes.
amla
Agent or clerk.
anna
A monetary unit equal to one-sixteenth of a rupee.
arkatti
Village recruiter.
babu
Indians who had some connection with the British, through em-
ployment or the wearing of westernized attire. Used by the British as a
term of ridicule.
bailung
Shaman or ritual specialist for the Ahom community.
bandi/beti
Male and female servile labour in the pre-colonial house-
hold economy.
Bangal
Until the mid-nineteenth century this referred to any foreigner,
irrespective of ethnicity; later referred to an inhabitant of Bengal.
bari
Garden.
barkandazi
Military mercenary from eastern or northern India.
Barua
An Ahom o≈cial with jurisdiction over a department of state or a
khel of people, with the prefix indicating his responsibility (e.g. Hathi
Barua, the o≈cial in charge of the royal elephants). Later became a sur-
name, often with prefix dropped.
bhaal manuh
Respectable (lit. good man).
bhakat
Monastic acolyte attached to the satras (Vaishnavite monasteries).
bhakti
Devotion to God.
bhasa/bhasha
Language, usually the commonly spoken vernacular.
With matri (mother) as prefix, a new usage signifying mother-tongue.
Previous Page Next Page