BEECHMÁN, also MEECHILMÁN, s. Sea-H. for ‘midshipman.’ (Roebuck).

BEEGAH, s. H. bighä. The most common Hindu measure of land-area, and varying much in different parts of India, whilst in every part that has a bïghä there is also certain to be a pucka beegah and a kutcha beegah (vide CUTCHA and PUCKA), the latter being some fraction of the former. The beegah formerly adopted in the Revenue Survey of the N.W. Provinces, and in the Canal Department there, was one of 3025 sq. yards or 5/8 of an acre. This was apparently founded on Akbar’s beegah, which contained 3600 sq. Ilähi gaz, of about 33 inches each. [For which see Ain, trans. Jarrett, ii. 62.] But it is now in official returns superseded by the English acre.

1763.—“I never seized a beega or beswa (1/20 bïghä) belonging to Calcutta, nor have I ever impressed your gomastahs.”…Nawäb Käsim ’Ali, in Gleig’s Mem. of Hastings, i. 129.

1823.—“A Begah has been computed at one-third of an acre, but its size differs in almost every province. The smallest Begah may perhaps be computed at one-third, and the largest at two-thirds of an acre.”—Malcolm’s Central India, ii. 15.

1877.—“The Resident was gratified at the low rate of assessment, which was on the general average eleven annas or 1s. 4½d. per beegah, that for the Nizam’s country being upwards of four rupees.”—Meadows Taylor, Story of my Life, ii. 5.

BEEGUM, BEGUM, &c. s. A Princess, a Mistress, a Lady of Rank; applied to Mahommedan ladies, and in the well-known case of the Beegum Sumroo to the professedly Christian (native) wife of a European. The word appears to be Or. Turki. bïgam, [which some connect with Skt. bhaga, ‘lord,’] a feminine formation from Beg, ‘chief, or lord,’ like Khänum from Khän; hence P. begam. [Beg appears in the early travellers as Beage.]

[1614.—“Narranse saith he standeth bound before Beage for 4,800 and odd mamoodies.”—Foster, Letters, ii. 282.]

[1505.—“Begum.” See quotation under KHANUM.]

[1617.—“Their Company that offered to rob the Beagam’s junck.”—Sir T. Roe, Hak. Soc. ii. 454.]

1619.—“Behind the girl came another Begum, also an old woman, but lean and feeble, holding on to life with her teeth, as one might say.”—P. della Valle, Hak. Soc. ii. 6.

1653.—“Begun, Reine, ou espouse du Schah.”—De la Boullaye le Gouz, 127.

[1708.—“They are called for this reason ‘Begom,’ which means Free from Care or Solicitude” (as if P. be-gham, ‘without care’;)—Catrou, H. of the Mogul Dynasty in India, E. T., 287.]

1787.—“Among the charges (against Hastings) there is but one engaged, two at most—the Begum’s to Sheridan; the Rannee of Goheed (Gohud) to Sir James Erskine. So please your palate.”—Ed. Burke to Sir G. Elliot. L. of Ld. Minto, i. 119.

BEEJOO, s. Or ‘Indian badger,’ as it is sometimes called, H. bïjü [bijjü], Mellivora indica, Jerdon, [Blanford, Mammalia, 176]. It is also often called in Upper India the Grave-digger, [gorkhodo] from a belief in its bad practices, probably unjust.

BEER, s. This liquor, imported from England, [and now largely made in the country], has been a favourite in India from an early date. Porter seems to have been common in the 18th century, judging from the advertisements in the Calcutta Gazette; and the Pale Ale made, it is presumed, expressly for the India market, appears in the earliest years of that publication. That expression has long been disused in India, and beer, simply, has represented the thing. Hodgson’s at the beginning of this century, was the beer in almost universal use, replaced by Bass, and Allsopp, and of late years by a variety of other brands. [Hodgson’s ale is immortalised in Bon Gualtier.]

1638.—“…the Captain…was well provided with…excellent good Sack, English Beer, French Wines, Arak, and other refreshments.”—Mandelslo, E. T., p. 10.

1690.—(At Surat in the English Factory)….Europe Wines and English Beer, because of their former acquaintance with our Palates, are most coveted and most desirable Liquors, and tho’ sold at high Rates, are yet purchased and drunk with pleasure.”—Ovington, 395.

1784.—“London Porter and Pale Ale, light and excellent…150 Sicca Rs. per hhd.…”—In Seton-Karr, i.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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