BANJO, s. Though this is a West- and not East-Indian term, it may be worth while to introduce the following older form of the word:


“Permit thy slaves to lead the choral dance
To the wild banshaw’s melancholy sound.”

Grainger, iv.

See also Davies, for example of banjore, [and N.E.D for banjer].

BANKSHALL, s. a. A warehouse. b. The office of a Harbour Master or other Port Authority. In the former sense the word is still used in S. India; in Bengal the latter is the only sense recognised, at least among Anglo-Indians; in Northern India the word is not in use. As the Calcutta office stands on the banks of the Hoogly, the name is, we believe, often accepted as having some indefinite reference to this position. And in a late work we find a positive and plausible, but entirely unfounded, explanation of this kind, which we quote below. In Java the word has a specific application to the open hall of audience, supported by wooden pillars without walls, which forms part of every princely residence. The word is used in Sea Hindustani, in the forms bansar, and bangsal for a ‘store-room’ (Roebuck).

Bankshall is in fact one of the oldest of the words taken up by foreign traders in India. And its use not only by Correa (c. 1561) but by King John (1524), with the regularly-formed Portuguese plural of words in -al, shows how early it was adopted by the Portuguese. Indeed, Correa does not even explain it, as is his usual practice with Indian terms.

More than one serious etymology has been suggested:—(1). Crawfurd takes it to be the Malay word bangsal, defined by him in his Malay Dict. thus: “(J.) A shed; a storehouse; a workshop; a porch; a covered passage” (see J. Ind. Archip. iv. 182). [Mr Skeat adds that it also means in Malay ‘half-husked paddy,’ and ‘fallen timber, of which the outer layer has rotted and only the core remains.’] But it is probable that the Malay word, though marked by Crawfurd (“J.”) as Javanese in origin, is a corruption of one of the two following:

(2) Beng. bankasala, from Skt. banik or vanik, ‘trade,’ and sala, ‘a hall.’ This is Wilson’s etymology.

(3). Skt. bhandasala, Canar. bhandasale Malayal. pandisala, Tam. pandasalai or pandakasalai, ‘a storehouse or magazine.’

It is difficult to decide which of the two last is the original word; the prevalence of the second in S. India is an argument in its favour; and the substitution of g for d would be in accordance with a phonetic practice of not uncommon occurrence.


c. 1345.—“For the bandar there is in every island (of the Maldives) a wooden building, which they call bajansar [evidently for banjasar, i.e. Arabic spelling for bangasar] where the Governor…collects all the goods, and there sells or barters them.”—Ibn Batuta, iv. 120.

[1520.—“Collected in his bamgasal” (in the Maldives).—Doc. da Torre do Tombo, p. 452.]

1524.—A grant from K. John to the City of Goa, says: “that henceforward even if no market rent in the city is collected from the bacacés, viz. those at which are sold honey, oil, butter, betre (i.e. betel), spices, and cloths, for permission to sell such things in the said bacacés, it is our pleasure that they shall sell them freely.” A note says: “Apparently the word should be bacaçaes, or bancacaes, or bangaçaes, which then signified any place to sell things, but now particularly a wooden house.”—Archiv. Portug. Or., Fasc. ii. 43.

1561.—“…in the bengaçaes, in which stand the goods ready for shipment.”—Correa, Lendas, i. 2, 260.

1610.—The form and use of the word have led P. Teixeira into a curious confusion (as it would seem) when, speaking of foreigners at Ormus, he says: “hay muchos gentiles, Baneanes [see BANYAN], Bangasalys, y Cambayatys”—where the word in italics probably represents Bangalys, i.e. Bengalis (Rel. de Harmuz, 18).

c. 1610.—“Le facteur du Roy chrestien des Maldiues tenoit sa banquesalle ou plustost cellier, sur le bord de la mer en l’isle de Malé.”—Pyrard de Laval, ed. 1679, i. 65; [Hak. Soc. i. 85; also see i. 267].

1613.—“The other settlement of Yler…with houses of wood thatched extends…to the fields of Tanjonpacer, where there is a bangasal or sentry’s house without other defense.”—Godinho de Eredia, 6.

1623.—“Bangsal, a shed (or barn), or often also a roof without walls to sit under, sheltered from the rain or sun.”—Gaspar Willens, Vocabularium, &c., ins’ Gravenhaage; repr. Batavia, 1706.

1734-5.—“Paid the Bankshall Merchants for the house poles, country reapers, &c., necessary for housebuilding.”—In Wheeler, iii. 148.

1748.—“A little below the town of Wampo…These people (compradores) build a house for each ship.… They are called by us banksalls. In these we deposit the rigging and yards of the vessel, chests, water-casks, and every thing that incommodes us aboard.”—A Voyage to the E. Indies in 1747 and 1748 (1762), p.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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