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(33) Umbrellas, punk,has, liveries [[172-173]]

[[172]] The immediate business of a head-bearer is to prepare [[173]] for his master's dressing; to see that the linen is in proper order, boots and shoes cleaned, coat &c. brushed, side-arms, &c. bright; also, that the palanquin is clean and in good repair; that the water for drinking be purified, and the kettle put on in due time. The inferior bearers generally clean the furniture and carry the chowry (or whisk), and swing a kind of punkah (or fan) made either of a large palm leaf, or with split bamboo and printed cotton; of which pieces are to be had stamped expressly for that purpose. To cool a room they are swung backwards and forwards, the butt of the punkah-stick resting on the ground.

A punkah, when used instead of a chuttah (or umbrella), is a very inferior defence against either sun, wind, or rain. The natives in some parts, especially to the northward, used punkahs very generally; but of late they seem to prefer chattahs, of which great numbers are now conveyed, as an article of merchandise, from the lower provinces to Benares, Lucknow, &c.

The dress of the cahar, or up-country bearer, consists of a coloured turban, usually blue; the head bearer has generally a short coortah, not unlike that of the mushuulchee, and, like the inferiors, wears a doty in the usual manner; though some wear a kind of petticoat trowser, not unlike the Highland kelt. Cummer-bunds are also in general use; though mostly of a very course quality. Many gentlemen present their bearers, harkarus, peons, su,ees, khidmutgars, and mushuulchees, annually with turbans and cummer-bunds, all of the same colour; so that the whole appear to a certain extent in livery. In this indulgence many of the natives take great pride, and can assume extraordinary airs, when they have to deal with the servant of a person inferior to their own master.


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