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(28) Khulasee, Manjy, Goleeah, and Dandy [[155-159]]

[[155]] The business of a Khulasee is, properly speaking, confined either to the arrangement of camp equipage, or to the management of the sails and rigging on board a budjrow. In rhe former, he must be able to set up tents of every description; to pack and unpack; to load and unload; to make tent-pins; to sew the taut (or canvass bags) in which each part of a tent is generally enclosed, when on the elephant, camel, bullock, or cart, by which it is conveyed; to handle a phourah, or mattock, to level the interior; and, in short, to complete the whole preparation within and without.

Many khulasees are extremely expert in all these duties, and are, besides, excellent domestics; not hesitating to perform a variety of services about a house, such as swinging the punkah (or great fan) suspended in most dining-halls, rattaning the bottoms of chairs, helping to arrange and to clear furniture, and doing besides the duties of hurkarus, or peons. This variety of talent, no doubt, renders the khulasee a most useful servant: hence more are now retained than formerly.

As a public servant, whether attached to the train of artillery, or to a quarter-master's establishment, his merits are equally known. In the former he is enrolled in some [[156]] company, where rank may be obtained by continued good conduct. Though in a private capacity he rarely receives more than five rupees, in the latter instance, his average pay is six; which, with the chance of promotion to the several ranks of cossob, tindal, and serang, with encrease of wages at each gradation, is considerable.

His duty in the artillery is, however, by no means trifling. During the whole day he is employed generally in the arsenal, or the store-room, or the artillery shed; or, eventually, in drawing timbers; cannon, &c. on transport-carriages; mounting or dismounting great guns, cleaning arms, working in the laboratory, piling or serving out shot, with numerous et cetera in the various branches of that department. Whether attached to the train, or serving with a regiment of infantry or cavalry, the khualasee (or, as he is often termed while in the public service, the lascar) must be adroit in whatever respects camp-equipage, making up ammunition of all kinds, sorting stores, packing, loading, serving, and drawing field-pieces, limbering,.yoking the cattle, marking out lines for a camp; and, in short, in whatever relates either to the ordnance, or to the quarter-master's duties.

All attached to these services are clothed in woollens of English manufacture: those in the artillery wearing blue jackets with red trimmings, and such as are attached to regiments of cavalry or infantry, such colours as assimilate with the dress of the corps respectively; unless when a quantity of any particular colour is on hand in the Company's stores; when it is disposed of by varying the dress of regimental lascars, pro tempore, as far as it will go.

The whole of the khulasees wear blue turbans, of rather a flat form, having on their edges a red tape, about three-fourths of an inch in breadth; which greatly relieves the sombre appearance of their jackets.

[[157]] The khulasees on board budjrows, which are generally of the pinnace or keeled kind, are nearly on a footing with those retained by individuals; allowing for a certain imitation of the public servant, and a smattering in what relates to the management of sails. This class is by no means numerous, being confined entirely to the aquatic equipages of great men. One of this description is by no means flattered when directed to handle an oar on board the budjrow, though he prides himself in rowing a jolly-boat furnished with oars on the European plan.

The manjy, goleeah, and dandy, are the steersman, bow man, and common rower in a boat, respectively. A gentleman who keeps a boat must always retain the two first, and if it is constantly employed, the last also; or he may generally, by previous notice, obtain a crew of teeka-dandies, that is, job watermen, at any of the ghauts or wharfs along the river. The manjy is usually paid from five to seven rupees monthly; the goleeah, from four to five; and the dandy, from two and a half to three and a half, or even four; all according to the kind of boat, and the dignity of the employer.

There is no established dress for either of the above classes; though the manjy will, in general, be found to adopt a mixed costume, between the khulasee and the mushuulchee. His business is to steer, and to give orders, which are very numerous in rivers perpetually changing their direction. Thus it is by no means uncommon to see a budjrow hoist and lower her sails, take to her oars or to the trackrope, some scores of times during the course of a day's progress, just as the localities may render it necessary.

Whatever authority be vested in a manjy, it is rare to see him able to enforce his orders: each of the crew has an opinion of bis own; and knowing that his services cannot be dispensed with, he will in most cases adhere to his way [[158]] of thinking, till peremptorily compelled by the master's interference to submit to orders, or overcome by absolute force.

The goleeah has particular charge of the bow, where he either rows the foremost oar, or keeps the boat from running against the bank, or upon shoals, by means of a luggy, or bamboo pole thirty feet or more in length; first casting it out in the proper direction, and then lapping it round several times with the end of a strong tail-strap, fastened to a ring on the forecastle, so as to prevent the pole from returning.

Those who have not witnessed the dexterity of these people, and the rapidity with which they recover their poles, so as to make repeated resistances in dangerous situations, can form no idea of the strength, activity, and judgment necessary to qualify a man for this arduous situation. Often the fate of a boat depends on the certainty of the goleeah's throw; especially under a cutchar, or sand-bank, perhaps twenty feet or more in height, where a strong current has cut away the foundation, occasioning immense bodies of the soil to fall in, attended by a noise like thunder.

One of these falling upon a boat must sink her, as experience has too often proved. The very swell occasioned by the fall of such ponderous and bulky rubbish, amounting perhaps to fifty or sixty loads, is sufficient to sink the smaller vessels. Fortunately, the cutchars in general subside, as it were, perpendicularly, without casting outwards, otherwise no vessels could navigate the Ganges or the other great rivers at certain seasons, especially during the early winter months, when the cutchars are high, and the current strong.

The dandy certainly leads as hard a life as any scavenger's cart-horse. Let us imagine the effects, even upon [[159]] the most hardy constitution, of exposure to all weathers; at one moment under a burning sun, or numbed by a cold northerly blast; by turns on board or at the trackrope, moving at a slow pace against a rapid current, and wading, without the smallest hesitation, through a million of puddles, often up to the neck, or even obliged to swim: the footing perhaps rugged, or along a heavy sand, or a deep mud; and the path lying through briars, bordering steep precipices!

All this the dandy undergoes, as before specified, for wages rarely equal to three-pence daily. It is true, he scruples not [=does not scruple] to participate with his companions in the produce of the fields he passes through, together with fire-wood, and occasionally some stray poultry or a kid. Nor are this class, which consists promiscuously of Hindoos and Moossulmans, very nice [=particular] as to the means of obtaining their clothing. Knowing such to be the invariable disposition of dandies, the European must blame himself, should his valuables be missing in consequence of his own neglect, or an ill-placed confidence.

Hence it is advisable never, under any pretext, to allow one of the crew to enter the cabin of a budjrow, unless attended by a servant whose whole attention should be directed to the prevention of theft. Most boats are baled by means of a skuttle in the cabin: this affords a very reasonable plea for entrance; but too much caution cannot be used during that operation, which may be required from two to fifty times within the twenty-four hours, according to the soundness of the vessel's bottom.

To describe a dandy's dress is scarcely practicable; but a tolerable outline was given when treating of the passage from the ship at Kedgeree to the Presidency.

Williamson 1810 vol. 1: ((287)) ....the perpetual changes from hot to cold, and from wet to dry (for each dandy reserves a dry clout, to put on when he returns on board), must, one would think, at all events, keep the poor wretches something like clean, and free from vermin. ((288)) Such, however, is not the case; for what with ring-worms, itch, and a certain loathsome and infectious disease, added to an inexhaustible stock of body-creepers, no mortal can well be more disgusting than a Bengal dandy. It would be injustice to class them all under one general anathema; there being doubtless some among them who are tolerably clean in their persons; but such most assuredly form a very disproportionate minority!


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