BHAT, s. H. &c. bhat (Skt. bhàtta, a title of respect, probably connected with bhàrtri, ‘a supporter or master’), a man of a tribe of mixed descent, whose members are profess ed genealogists and poets; a bard. These men in Rajputána and Guzerat had also extraordinary privileges as the guarantors of travellers, whom they accompanied, against attack and robbery. See an account of them in Forbes’s Ras Mala, I. ix. &c., reprint 558 seqq.; [for Bengal, Risley, Tribes & Castes, i. 101 seqq.; for the N.W.P., Crooke, Tribes & Castes, ii. 20 seqq.

[1554.—“Bats,” see quotation under RAJPUT.]

c. 1555.—“Among the infidel Banyans in this country (Guzerat) there is a class of literati known as Bats. These undertake to be guides to traders and other travellers…when the caravans are waylaid on the road by Rashbuts, i.e. Indian horsemen, coming to pillage them, the Bat takes out his dagger, points it at his own breast, and says: ‘I have become surety! If aught befals the caravan I must kill myself!’ On these words the Rashbuts let the caravan pass unharmed.”—Sidi’Ali, 95.

[1623.—“Those who perform the office of Priests, whom they call Boti.”—P. della Valle, Hak. Soc. i. 80.]

1775.—“The Hindoo rajahs and Mahratta chieftains have generally a Bhaut in the family, who attends them on public occasions…sounds their praise, and proclaims their titles in hyperbolical and figurative language…many of them have another mode of living; they offer themselves as security to the different governments for payment of their revenue, and the good behaviour of the Zemindars, patels, and public farmers; they also become guarantees for treaties between native princes, and the performance of bonds by individuals.”—Forbes, Or. Mem. ii. 89; [2nd ed. i. 377; also see ii. 258]. See TRAGA.

1810.—“India, like the nations of Europe, had its minstrels and poets, concerning whom there is the following tradition: At the marriage of Siva and Parvatty, the immortals having exhausted all the amusements then known, wished for something new, when Siva, wiping the drops of sweat from his brow, shook them to earth, upon which the Bawts, or Bards, immediately sprang up.”—Maria Graham, 169.

1828.—“A ‘Bhat’ or Bard came to ask a gratuity.”—Heber, ed. 1844, ii. 53.

BHEEL, n.p. Skt. Bhilla; H. Bhil. The name of a race inhabiting the hills and forests of the Vindhya, Malwa, and of the N.-Western Deccan, and believed to have been the aborigines of Rajputana; some have supposed them to be the Fullitai of Ptolemy. They are closely allied to the Coolies (q. v.) of Guzerat, and are believed to belong to the Kolarian di vision of Indian aborigines. But no distinct Bhil language survives.

1785.—“A most infernal yell suddenly issued from the deep ravines. Our guides informed us that this was the noise always made by the Bheels previous to an attack.”—Forbes, Or. Mem. iii. 480.

1825.—“All the Bheels whom we saw today were small, slender men, less broad-shouldered…and with faces less Celtic than the Puharees of the Rajmahal.…Two of them had rude swords and shields, the remainder had all bows and arrows.”—Heber, ed. 1844, ii. 75.

BHEEL, s. A word used in Bengal—bhil: a marsh or lagoon; same as Jeel (q. v.)

[1860.—“The natives distinguish a lake so formed by a change in a river’s course from one of usual origin or shape by calling the former a bowr—whilst the latter is termed a Bheel.”—Grant, Rural Life in Bengal, 35.]

1879.—“Below Shouy-doung there used to be a big bheel, wherein I have shot a few duck, teal, and snipe.”—Pollok, Sport in B. Burmah, i. 26.

BHEESTY, s. The universal word in the Anglo-Indian households of N. India for the domestic (corresponding to the sakka of Egypt) who supplies the family with water, carrying it in a mussuck, (q.v.), or goatskin, slung on his back. The word is P. bihishti, a person of bihisht or paradise, though the application appears to be peculiar to Hindustan. We have not been able to trace the history of this term, which does not apparently occur in the Ain, even in the curious account of the way in which water was cooled and supplied in the Court of Akbar (Blochmann, tr. i. 55 seqq.), or in the old travellers, and is not given in Meninski’s lexicon. Vullers gives it only as from Shakespear’s Hindustani Dict. [The trade must be of ancient origin in India, as the leather bag is mentioned in the Veda and Manu (Wilson, Rig Veda, ii. 28; Institutes, ii. 79.) Hence Col. Temple (Ind. Ant., xi. 117) suggests that the word is Indian, and connects it with the Skt. vish, ‘to sprinkle.’] It is one of the fine titles which Indian servants rejoice

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