BEAR-TREE, BAIR, &c. s. H. ber, Mahr. bora, in Central Provinces bor, [Malay bedara or bidara China,] (Skt. badara and vadara) Zizyphus jujuba, Lam. This is one of the most widely diffused trees in India, and is found wild from the Punjab to Burma, in all which region it is probably native. It is cultivated from Queensland and China to Morocco and Guinea. “Sir H. Elliot identifies it with the lotus of the ancients, but although the large juicy product of the garden Zizyphus is by no means bad, yet, as Madden quaintly remarks, one might eat any quantity of it without risk of forgetting home and friends.”—(Punjab Plants, 43.)

1563.—“O. The name in Canarese is bor, and in the Decan bér, and the Malays call them vidaras, and they are better than ours; yet not so good as those of Balagate.…which are very tasty.”—Garcia De O., 33

t[1609.—“Here is also great quantity of gum-lack to be had, but is of the tree called Ber, and is in grain like unto red mastic.”—Danvers, Letters, i. 30.]

BEARER, s. The word has two meanings in Anglo-Indian colloquial: a. A palanquin carrier; b. (In the Bengal Presidency) a domestic servant who has charge of his master’s clothes, household furniture, and (often) of his ready money. The word in the latter meaning has been regarded as distinct in origin, and is stated by Wilson to be a corruption of the Bengali vehärä from Skt. vyavahäri, a domestic servant. There seems, however, to be no historical evidence for such an origin, e.g. in any habitual use of the term vehärä, whilst as a matter of fact the domestic bearer (or sirdär-bearer, as he is usually styled by his fellow-servants, often even when he has no one under him) was in Calcutta, in the penultimate generation when English gentlemen still kept palankins, usually just what this literally implies, viz. the head-man of a set of palankin-bearers. And throughout the Presidency the bearer, or valet, still, as a rule, belongs to the caste of Kahärs (see KUHAR), or palki-bearers. [See BOY.]


c. 1760.—“…The poles which…are carried by six, but most commonly four bearers.”—Grose, i. 153.

1768- 71.—“Every house has likewise…one or two sets of berras, or palankeen-bearers.”—Stavorinus, i. 523.

1771.—“Le bout le plus court du Palanquin est en devant, et porté par deux Beras, que l’on nomme Boys à la Côte (c’est a-dire Garçons, Serviteurs, en Anglois). Le long bout est par derrière et porte par trois Beras”—Anquetil du Perron, Desc. Prelim. p. xxiii. note.

1778.—“They came on foot, the town having neither horses nor palankin-bearers to carry them, and Colonel Coote received them at his headquarters.…”—Orme, iii. 719.

1803.—“I was…detained by the scarcity of bearers.”—Lord Valentia, i. 372.

1782.—“…imposition…that a gentleman should pay a rascal of a Sirdar Bearer monthly wages for 8 or 10 men…out of whom he gives 4, or may perhaps indulge his master with 5, to carry his palankeen.”—India Gazette, Sept. 2.

c. 1815.—“Henry and his Bearer.”—(Title of a well-known book of Mrs. Sherwood’s.)

1824.—“…I called to my sirdar-bearer who was lying on the floor, outside the bedroom.”—Seely, Ellora, ch. i.

1831.—“…le grand maìtre de ma garde-robe, sirdar beehrah.”—Jacquemont, Correspondance, i. 114.

1876.—“My bearer who was to go with us (Eva’s ayah had struck at the last moment and stopped behind) had literally girt up his loins, and was loading a diminutive mule with a miscellaneous assortment of brass pots and blankets.”—A True Reformer, ch. iv.

BEEBEE, s. H. from P. bïbï, a lady. [In its contracted form , it is added as a title of distinction to the names of Musulman ladies.] On the principle of degradation of titles which is so general, this word in application to European ladies has been superseded by the hybrids Mem-Sähib, or Madam-Sähib, though it is often applied to European maid-servants or other Englishwomen of that rank of life. [It retains its dignity as the title of the Bïbï of Cananore, known as Bïbï Valiya, Malayäl., ‘great lady,’ who rules in that neighbourhood and exercises authority over three of the islands of the Laccadives, and is by race a Moplah Mohammedan.] The word also is sometimes applied to a prostitute. It is originally, it would seem, Oriental Turki. In Pavet de Courteille’s Dict. we have “Bïbï, dame, épouse légitime” (p. 181). In W. India the word is said to be pronounced bobo (see Burton’s Sind). It is curious that among the Sákaláva of Madagascar the wives of chiefs are termed biby; but there seems hardly a possibility of this having come

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