BAEL, s. H. bel, Mahr. bail, from Skt. vilva, the Tree and Fruit of Aegle marmelos (Correa), or ‘Bengal Quince,’ as it is sometimes called, after the name (Marmelos de Benguala) given it by Garcia de Orta, who first described the virtues of this fruit in the treatment of dysentery, &c. These are noticed also by P. Vincenzo Maria and others, and have always been familiar in India. Yet they do not appear to have attracted serious attention in Europe till about the year 1850. It is a small tree, a native of various parts of India. The dried fruit is now imported into England.—(See Hanbury and Flückiger, 116); [Watt, Econ. Dict. i. 117 seqq.]. The shelly rind of the bel is in the Punjab made into carved snuff-boxes for sale to the Afghans.

1563.—“And as I knew that it was called beli in Baçaim, I enquired of those native physicians which was its proper name, cirifole or beli, and they told me that cirifole [sriphala] was the physician’s name for it.”—Garcia De O., ff. 221 v., 222.

[1614.—“One jar of Byle at ru. 5 per maund.”—Foster, Letters, iii. 41.]

1631.—Jac. Bontius describes the bel as malum cydonium (i.e. a quince), and speaks of its pulp as good for dysentery and the cholerae immanem orgasmum.—Lib. vi. cap. viii.

1672.—“The Bili plant grows to no greater height than that of a man [this is incorrect], all thorny. … the fruit in size and hardness, and nature of rind, resembles a pomegranate, dotted over the surface with little dark spots equally distributed. … With the fruit they make a decoction, which is a most efficacious remedy for dysenteries or fluxes. Proceeding from excessive heat…”—P. Vincenzo, 353.

1879.—“… On this plain you will see a large bél-tree, and on it one big bél-fruit.”—Miss Stokes, Indian Fairy Tales, 140.

BAFTA, s. A kind of calico, made especially at Baroch; from the Pers. bafta, ‘woven.’ The old Baroch baftas seem to have been fine goods. Nothing is harder than to find intelligible explanations of the distinction between the numerous varieties of cotton stuffs formerly exported from India to Europe under a still greater variety of names; names and trade being generally alike obsolete. Baftas however survived in the Tariffs till recently. [Bafta is at present the name applied to a silk fabric. (See quotation from Yusuf Ali below.) In Bengal, Charpata and Noakhali in the Chittagong Division were also noted for their cotton baftas (Birdwood, Industr. Arts, 249).]

1598.—“There is made great store of Cotton Linnen of diuers sort. … Boffetas.”—Linschoten, page 18. [Hak. Soc. i. 60.]

[1605–6.—“Patta Kassa of the ffinest Totya, Baffa.”—Birdwood, First Letter Book, 73. We have also “Black Baffatta.”—Ibid. 74.]

[1610.—“Baffata, the corge Rs. 100.”—Danvers, Letters, i. 72.]

1612.—“Baftas or white Callicos, from twentie to fortie Royals the corge.”—Capt. Saris, in Purchas, i. 347.

1638.—“… tisserans qui y font cette sorte de toiles de cotton, que l’on appelle baftas, qui sont les plus fines de toutes celles qui se font dans la Prouince de Guzaratta.”—Mandelslo, 128.

1653.—“Baftas est un nom Indien qui signifie des toiles fort serrées de cotton, lesquelles la pluspart viennent de Baroche, ville du Royaume de Guzerat. Appartenant au Grand Mogol.”—De la B. le Gouz, 515.

1665.—“The Baftas, or Calicuts painted red, blue, and black, are carried white to Agra and Amadabad, in regard those cities are nearest the places where the Indigo is made that is us’d in colouring.”—Tavernier, (E. T.) page 127; [ed. Ball, ii. 5].

1672.—“Broach Baftas, broad and narrow.”—Fryer, 86.

1727.—“The Baroach Baftas are famous throughout all India, the country producing the best Cotton in the World.”—A. Hamilton, i. 144.

1875.—In the Calcutta Tariff valuation of this year we find Piece Goods, Cotton:

* * * *

Baftahs, score, Rs. 30.

[1900.—“Akin to the pot thans is a fabric known as Bafta (literally woven), produced in Benares; body pure silk, with butis in kalabatun or cloth; … used for angarkhas, kots, and women’s paijamas (Musulmans).”—Yusuf Ali, Mon. on Silk Fabrics, 97.]

It is curious to find this word now current on Lake Nyanza. The burial of King Mtesa’s mother is spoken of: 1883.—“The chiefs half filled the nicely-padded coffin with bufta (bleached calico) … after that the corpse and then the coffin was filled up with more bufta. …”—In Ch. Missy. Intelligencer, N.S., viii. page 543.

BAHAR, s. Ar. bahar, Malayal. bharam, from Skt. bhara, ‘a load.’ A weight used in large trading transactions; it varied much in different localities; and though the name is of Indian origin it was naturalised by the Arabs, and carried by them to the far East, being found in use, when the Portuguese arrived in

  By PanEris using Melati.

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