NOTE:  All names and terms are described only as they are used in the novel itself. They are generally spelled the way the novel spells them, based on Urdu script. An asterisk identifies a related glossary entry that will provide further information.

/Abba Jan./  Zakir's name for his father. 'Abba' is something like 'Dad.' 'Jan' is a title appended to kinship terms to show intimacy and affection.
/Abul Hasan./  A rich merchant's son who was betrayed by his friends, and who therefore vowed to seek out and entertain only strangers.
/ai./  An emphatic exclamation, used vocatively to command attention or express surprise or consternation.
/ai hai./  An exclamation of rueful regret, characteristically used by older women.
/Ali./  The Prophet's son-in-law, husband of Fatimah, father of Hasan and Husain. He is deeply venerated, and is often referred to by epithets like "the Chosen One" and "the Lion of God."
/Aligarh./  A small city southeast of Delhi, site of the famous Aligarh Muslim University.
/Ambala./  A city north of Delhi, in modern Haryana, close to the Panjab border.
/Ammi./  Zakir's name for his mother. 'Ammi' is something like 'Mom.'
/Amritsar./  The Indian city located right across the border from Lahore.
/Anarkali./  Lahore's most famous old market, filled with a maze of tiny lanes where almost anything can be bought.
/Appearance./  The emergence of the Hidden Imam from concealment, an apocalyptic event awaited by many Shiites.
/are./  An exclamation of surprise.
/Ayub dictatorship./  The military government headed by General Ayub Khan, which seized power from the civilian government in 1958 and ruled until Ayub was deposed by General Yahya Khan in 1969.
/Baba Farid./  An affectionate way of referring to Shaikh Farid ud-Din Ganj-e Shakar, the great twelfth-century saint and mystic of North India.
/Baghbanpura./  A neighborhood in the northeast part of Lahore.
/Bahadur Shah./  The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah (1775-1862) used the pen-name 'Zafar' in his poetry, and was forced to live as a British pensioner. During the rebellion of 1857 he was made titular head of the rebels; court politics then led to the replacement of Bakht Khan, the most effective general, by Mirza Mughal and Mirza Ghaus, two of the emperor's useless sons.
/Bakht Khan./  See *Bahadur Shah.
/Basic Democracy./  A multi-layered system instituted by the Ayub regime in 1959, in which only the bottom layer, consisting of thousands of representatives called Basic Democrats, was directly elected; the system was presented as a nonpolitical one for achieving rural education and uplift.
/Batul./  *Khalah Jan's real name.
/Bhisham./  See  Mahabharat.
/Bi Amma./  Zakir's name for his paternal grandmother. 'Bi' is a short form of 'Bibi.' 'Amma' means 'mother.'
/Bibi./  A polite form of address for a woman.
/binot./  An indigenous Indic form of martial art, which relies on dexterity and swift movement rather than on elaborate weapons.
/birbani./  In Indic folk tradition, a woman who has been killed by witchcraft, and whose spirit is used by the witch for magical purposes.
/Brahma-ji./  In Hindu mythology, the World-creator.
/Brindaban./  See *Krishan.
/Bulandshahr./  A city east of Delhi, on the road to Aligarh.
/Chacha Jan./  Zakir's uncle, his father's younger brother.
/Danpur./  A town in Bulandshahr district, in Uttar Pradesh; the home of Zakir's great-uncle.
/Data Ganj Bakhsh./  A famous eleventh-century saint and mystic, buried in Lahore and considered to be a patron of the city.
/Dulhan Bi./  Sharifan's name for Ammi Jan, referring to her as the 'bride' she was when she came to the house long ago.
/dupattah./  A very long, wide, lightweight scarf worn by women. It was draped over the shoulders and bosom, and sometimes over the head as well, with the two ends often hanging down in back.
/Emigration./  The 1947 Partition of British-controlled India into two states, India and Pakistan, caused many Muslim families like Zakir's to leave their old homes on the Indian side of the line and cross the border into the new Muslim nation of Pakistan.  For this experience they use the religiously meaningful word 'hijrat,' which evokes memories of the Prophet's journey from Mecca to Medina.
/faqir./  A Muslim ascetic, usually a solitary wanderer living on the voluntary gifts of the pious.
/Fatihah./  The opening chapter of the Quran; it is traditionally recited over the graves of the dead.
/Fatimah./  The Prophet's daughter, wife of Ali and mother of Hasan and Husain.
/'57./  1857, the year of the famous, desperate rebellion in North India against British power.
/Frontier Mail./  A famous train that runs between Bombay and Amritsar.
/Gamal Abdel Nasser./  The Egyptian President who took responsibility for his country's 1967 defeat by Israel, and resigned from the Presidency.
/Ghalib./  Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869) was one of the two greatest classical Urdu poets; he lived through the siege of Delhi in 1857 and saw its terrible aftermath.
/Gwalior./  A city south of Agra, in northern Madhya Pradesh.
/hai hai./  An exclamation of sorrow and mourning, frequently used by women when a death occurs.
/Hakim./  A respectful title for a practitioner of traditional Islamic (i.e., Greek) medicine.
/Hakim Nabina./  A famous early-twentieth-century *Hakim of Delhi.  He was blind; 'nabina' means blind.
/Hare-bhare Shah./  A popular saint whose tomb is in Delhi near the Jama Masjid.
/Hasan./  The older brother of *Husain; he had already died before the battle of Karbala took place.
/Hazrat./  A title expressing veneration, generally used for religious personages.
/Hazrat Sajjad./  A respectful title for Zain ul-Abidin, a son (or nephew, according to other accounts) of *Husain.
/Howrah Express./  A famous train that crosses North India from Calcutta to Delhi.
/Humayun's Tomb./  An elaborate monument in Delhi where the second Mughal emperor, Humayun (d.1556), is buried.
/huqqah./  A form of pipe with a large stationary bowl in which tobacco is burned, a curved tube to pass the smoke through water to cool it, and a mouthpiece on a long flexible hose that can be passed easily from hand to hand.
/Hur./  A general sent out against *Husain by his Umayyid enemies; but he fought on Husain's side instead, and was one of the first to be martyred at Karbala.
/Husain./  The son of Fatimah and Ali, thus the Prophet's grandson. He was martyred on the field of *Karbala by political opponents who refused to recognize his right to succeed to the Caliphate.
/Id./  The greatest Muslim religious festival; following a month of dawn-to-dusk fasting, on this feast day families visit with their neighbors.  "Id" is pronounced to rhyme with "heed."
/Imam./  A reverent title given to *Husain, and to certain of his successors venerated by Shiites. The title is also used for certain prominent religious personalities, and for someone who leads the prayer in a mosque.
/Imambarah./  A religious building used as the destination of processions during *Muharram, and as the site of *majlis gatherings.
/Imperial./  A large Western-style hotel in Lahore, well-known during the colonial era but no longer in existence.
/'innovation'./  A theological term for an illegitimate change made in the *Shariat.
/Iqbal./  Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), the greatest Urdu and Indo-Persian poet of the twentieth century, was also a philosopher and statesman.  He began as a secular nationalist, but later called for the formation of Pakistan.
/Iqlima./  This daughter of Adam and Eve is not mentioned in the Quran, and occurs only in certain Muslim folk traditions.
/Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari./  One of the Prophet's companions during his stay in Medina.
/Jahanabad./  A name for that part of the old city of Delhi which was built by Shah Jahan (r1627-1658).
/jalebi./  A kind of curly sweet shaped like a pretzel; made of batter, it is first deep-fried, then soaked in sugar-water.
/Jallianwala Bagh./  An episode in 1919 in which a crowd of nonviolent nationalist demonstrators trapped in a walled garden were repeatedly fired upon by soldiers under a British general, leaving hundreds dead.
/Jama Masjid./  The magnificent Delhi mosque, also occasionally used for important public assemblies; it was built by Shah Jahan (r1627-1658).
/Janamashtami./  A popular Hindu festival that celebrates the eighth day after *Krishan's birth.
/Jhansi./  A city in Uttar Pradesh, north of Gwalior. It was annexed by the British in 1853, when its king died childless. His widow, the famous Rani of Jhansi, armed herself as a warrior during the rebellion of 1857 and died heroically, fighting the British.
/ji./  A respectful and affectionate suffix sometimes added to proper names.
/Kabuli Gate./  A gate in the northwest part of the wall around the old city of Delhi, facing toward Kabul.
/kalimah./  The Muslim profession of faith, "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Prophet of God."  It is recited on many occasions, some associated with death.
/Kanan Bala./  A film star of the 1940's, famous for her songs.
/Karbala./  The battlefield in Iraq on which *Husain and his small band of followers were killed in 680 by the forces of their political rivals, the Umayyids. It is a site of the greatest religious importance to Muslims, especially Shiites. Fields used for Shiite religious purposes, like the one near Rupnagar (which seems to be enclosed by a wall), are sometimes piously given this name.
/Karnal./  A small city north of Delhi, in modern Haryana.
/Khakis./  Soldiers of the British-controlled Indian army of colonial times, so called from their khaki-colored uniforms.
/Khalah Jan./  Zakir's maternal aunt, Tahirah and Sabirah's mother.
/Khan Bahadur Uncle./  Zakir's late uncle, his father's older brother. 'Khan Bahadur' is an honorific title awarded to him by the British.
/Khilafat Movement./  See *Maulana Muhammad Ali.
/Khvajah of Kalyar./  The title of a thirteenth-century saint buried in the town of Kalyar, in Uttar Pradesh.
/Krishan./  The Hindu child-god, dark blue in color, who was raised among villagers in Brindavan, near Mathura. He was an adorable baby and child. As he grew older, he played his flute and danced seductively in the forest with the village girls, especially during the rainy season, which is always a romantic time in South Asia. Soon afterwards, he left Brindavan forever; he is thus an archetypal elusive lover.
/Laila./  The most famous beloved of Perso-Arabic story tradition. Although her family forced her to marry another man, she never became his wife in any real sense; she kept faith all her life with her true lover, *Majnun.
/Liaqat Ali Khan./  The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, holding power from 1947 until his assassination in 1951.
/Lorraine./  A restaurant in Lahore, no longer in existence.
/Lyallpur./  A town in Pakistan, west of Lahore; it is now called Faisalabad.
/Madina./  The city in Arabia, north of Mecca, to which the Prophet made his *Emigration, and which he used as a base of operations during the latter part of his life. To Muslims it is almost as sacred as Mecca itself.
/Mahabharat./  A great Sanskrit epic poem, one of the sources of Hindu story tradition. It culminates in a terrible battle on the field of Kurukshetra, near Delhi, in which the Pandav brothers, led by Yudhishtir, win the kingdom back from their cousins. Bhisham, the uncle of both sets of cousins, dies on the battlefield, pierced by so many arrows that they form a bed for him. While lying mortally wounded on this bed, he gives the Pandavs many final words of advice.
/majlis./  A gathering in which Shiite Muslims remember and mourn the death of *Husain and the events at Karbala. The person who delivers the elegaic oration at such a majlis is called a 'zakir.'
/Majnun./  The most famous lover of Perso-Arabic story tradition.  He went mad when his beloved *Laila was married to another; from then on he wandered in the wilderness, singing to Laila and undergoing torments in the name of love. He thus earned the epithet 'Majnun,' or 'Madman.'
/Mall Road./  The "Main Street" of the Westernized part of Lahore.
/Maulana./  A respectful term for a man of religious learning. It is applied to Abba Jan by his friends.
/Maulana Muhammad Ali./  Maulana Muhammad Ali (1878-1931) was one of the most important leaders of the Khilafat Movement (1919-1924), which sought to shore up international Muslim unity by restoring the power of the Caliphate. At one point Muhammad Ali supported Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia in his fundamentalist program of demolishing the shrines and tombs of some of the Prophet's companions, on the grounds that these had become overly important in popular Islam.
/Maulvi./  Similar to *Maulana.
/Meerut./  A city northeast of Delhi, in modern Uttar Pradesh.
/Memsahib./  A title compounded of "Ma'am" and "*Sahib," used for English ladies.
/Mir./  Mir Taqi Mir (c1722-1810) was one of the two greatest poets of the classical Urdu ghazal tradition; Ghalib was the other.
/Moradabad./  A city east-northeast of Delhi, in modern Uttar Pradesh.
/Mount Qaf./  In Islamic story tradition, the mountain that surrounds the edge of the world; it is inhabited by jinns and other non-human species.
/Muhammad Ali Jinnah./  Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) was the chief architect, and first Governor General, of the new state of Pakistan.
/Muharram./  The first month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims observe ten days of mourning, culminating in the Tenth Day which for Shiites includes special *majlis gatherings, and processions that carry tall standards bearing religious emblems.
/Munir Niyazi./  A well-known modern Pakistani poet (1923- ) who lives in Lahore.
/Munshi./  A polite term for an educated, respectable person.
/Najaf./  The city in Iraq where *Ali lies buried; it is much venerated for that reason.
/Nandi the Bull./  In Hindu tradition, Nandi is the mount on whom the great ascetic god Shiva rides.
/Narbada./  A river that flows through the southwestern part of Madhya Pradesh into Gujarat.
/Navab Hazrat Mahal./  The wife of the Navab of Avadh who was deposed by the British in 1856. She participated in the rebellion of 1857.
/Nazir./  Vali Muhammad Nazir Akbarabadi (1735-1830) was a popular Urdu poet, known for his use of Indic and Hindu themes along with Perso-Arabic and Muslim ones.
/Om, shanti, shanti, shanti./  'Om' is a sound that expresses the vibration of the cosmos, and 'shanti' means 'peace.'  In Hindu tradition phrases like this can be repeated over and over to induce a meditative state.
/`Pakizah'./  A romantic, melodramatic, extremely popular film (1971); its heroine, Pakizah ("Pure"), played by the famous actress Meena Kumari, was the illegitimate daughter of a dancing-girl and an upper-class landowner.
/pan./  A widely popular blend of betel nut, spices, and sometimes tobacco, wrapped in a leaf; it is held in the mouth and slowly chewed, producing a red, flavorful juice.
/Partition./  The 1947 division of British-controlled India into the two new states of India and Pakistan.
/pipal./  This tree, considered sacred by many Hindus, is often associated with temples and shrines.
/Prince Firoz Shah./  A grandson of *Bahadur Shah's, who continued to fight a guerrilla war against the British even after the rebellion of 1857 had been crushed; he finally left India, and died in Mecca in 1877.
/Rabia of Basra./  A famous eighth-century female Iraqi saint and mystic.
/Rahul./  The Buddha's son, who in folk tradition became a monk.
/Raisina./  A small village set on a hill, which eventually became part of New Delhi.
/Ram./  See *Ramchandar-ji.
/Ram nam satya hai./  "The name of Ram is truth," a phrase often chanted by Hindus as they bear a corpse to the burning-ground.
/Ramayan./  See *Ramchandar-ji.
/Ramchandar-ji./  The hero of a great Sanskrit epic, the Ramayan, and of countless traditional Hindu stories. Although he was an incarnation of the great god Vishnu, he was known for his humility and respectful behavior, including kind treatment of his loyal monkey allies and other animal helpers during his years of exile in the forest. His animal army helped him find and recover his kidnapped wife, Sita. When the squirrel, trying to be helpful, was laughed at by the monkeys for its smallness, Ramchandar-ji said words of comfort and ran his fingers down the squirrel's back.
/Rashid ul-Khairi./  Rashid ul-Khairi (1868-1936) was an extremely popular writer of melodramatic domestic novels about female characters.
/Ravan./  The hundred-headed demon king who was killed by *Ramchandar-ji.
/Ravi./  The river that flows through Lahore.
/Red Fort./  The famous fort and palace in Delhi, built by Shah Jahan (r1627-1658), from which *Bahadur Shah ruled until he was deposed in 1857.
/Rupnagar./  The (imaginary) town in which Zakir is born and spends his childhood. It is located somewhere in northwestern Uttar Pradesh; the nearest large city seems to be Bulandshahr. 'Rup' means 'beauty, form, shape,' and 'nagar' means 'city.'
/rutting./  An adjective describing the wild and violent behavior of male elephants in the mating season.
/Sabbo./  Diminutive for 'Sabirah.'  The name 'Sabirah' means "patient, enduring."
/Sadhora./  A small town near Ambala whose residents are considered to be stupid. The town of Kursi, near Lucknow, has a similar reputation.
/Sahib./  A polite form of address for a social equal or superior.
/Savitri./  A wife famous in Hindu story tradition for her absolute devotion to her husband Satyavan.
/scooter-taxi./  A three-wheeled vehicle like a motorcycle in front, with a second, canopied seat between its rear wheels that is wide enough to hold two passengers.
/Shah namah./  The Persian national epic, by Firdausi (c940-c1020).
/Shaikh./  A title generally given to descendants of the Prophet's companions; descendants of the Prophet himself are called 'Sayyids.'
/Shamnagar./  A neighborhood in Lahore; 'Sham' is derived from a name for *Krishan.
/Sharar./  Abdul Halim Sharar (1860-1926) was a well-known novelist and journalist.
/Shariat./  The received body of Muslim faith and tradition.
/Shesh./  In Hindu mythology, the immense cosmic serpent.
/Sialkot./  A city in Pakistan, north of Amritsar.
/Sikandar Mirza./  An army general who was elected President of Pakistan in 1956, then deposed and exiled by Ayub Khan in 1958.
/Silk Handkerchief Band./  A group of Muslim fundamentalist revolutionaries who took refuge in Afghanistan and communicated with their allies in British India by means of smuggled messages written on pieces of silk. When one such message was discovered, the plot (1915-16) was foiled.
/Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan./  Sir Sayyid (1817-1898) was a controversial and extremely influential modernizer and social reformer, founder of the famous Aligarh Muslim University.
/'65./  In 1965, there was an indecisive seventeen-day war between India and Pakistan.
/Solomon./  In Islamic story tradition, God has given Solomon power over all the animals, and especially over the birds. In Quran 27:22-28, a bird carries a letter from Solomon to the Queen of Sheba.
/Specials./  Special trains transporting refugees between India and Pakistan at the time of Partition in 1947.
/standard./  See *Muharram.
/Sultanah the Brigand./  A famous Uttar Pradesh highwayman of the 1920's, whose exploits and elusiveness made him a folk hero. In folk tradition, a British police officer named Young was his chief pursuer.
/Tantiya Topi./  One of the most formidable rebel commanders of 1857. Even after the rebellion was all but crushed, he continued to fight a guerilla war in the area around Jhansi until he was betrayed to the British in 1859. The British hanged him; he faced death with great firmness.
/Tenth Day./  See *Muharram.
/Umayyids./  See *Karbala.
/U.P./  Then the 'United Provinces,' now 'Uttar Pradesh,' a large Indian state encompassing most of the Gangetic plain.
/Vaid./  A title for a practitioner of the traditional Hindu system of ayurvedic medicine.
/Verse of the Throne./  Quran 2:255, a glorification of God.
/Vyaspur./  The (imaginary) larger town where Zakir and his family settle after they leave Rupnagar. 'Vyas,' meaning 'Arranger,' is the legendary author of the *Mahabharat; 'pur' means 'town.' It seems to be somewhere between Delhi and Moradabad.
/Wagah./  The border-crossing point between Lahore and Amritsar.
/Walton Camp./  One of the camps set up in Lahore in 1947 to house refugees arriving from across the newly-drawn border with India.
/yar./  A rough, comradely, affectionate term of address used among male peers. Its general sense is something like 'pal.'
/Zafar./  See *Bahadur Shah.
/Zakir./  The central figure of the novel, who is sometimes the narrator as well. His name means 'rememberer' or 'teller.'  See *majlis.



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