COMOTAY, COMATY, n.p. This name appears prominently in some of the old maps of Bengal, e.g. that embraced in the Magni Mogolis Imperium of Blaeu’s great Atlas (1645–50). It represents Kamata, a State, and Kamatapur, a ci ty, of which most extensive remains exist in the territory of Koch Bihar in Eastern Bengal (see COOCH BEHAR). These are described by Dr. Francis Buchanan, in the book published by Montgomery Martin under the name of Eastern India (vol. iii. 426 seqq.). The city stood on the west bank of the River Darla, which formed the defence on the east side, about 5 miles in extent. The whole circumference of the enclosure is estimated by Buchanan at 19 miles, the remainder being formed by a rampart which was (c. 1809) “in general about 130 feet in width at the base, and from 20 to 30 feet in perpendicular height.”

1553.—“Within the limits in which we comprehend the kingdom of Bengala are those kingdoms subject to it … lower down towards the sea the kingdom of Comotaij.”—Barros, IV. ix. 1.

[c. 1596.—Kamtah.” See quotation under COOCH BEHAR.]

1873.—“During the 15th century, the tract north of Rangpúr was in the hands of the Rájahs of Kámata. … Kámata was invaded, about 1498 A.D., by Husain Sháh.” —Blochmann, in J. As. Soc. Bengal, xiii. pt. i. 240.

COMPETITION-WALLAH, s. A hybrid of English and Hindustani, applied in modern Anglo-Indian colloquial to members of the Civil Service who have entered it by the competitive system first introduced in 1856. The phrase was probably the invention of one of the older or Haileybury members of the same service. These latter, whose nominations were due to interest, and who were bound together by the intimacies and esprit de corps of a common college, looked with some disfavour upon the children of Innovation. The name was readily taken up in India; but its familiarity in England is probably due in great part to the “Letters of a Competition-wala,” written by one who had no real claim to the title, Sir G. O. Trevelyan, who was later on member for Hawick Burghs, Chief Secretary for Ireland, and author of the excellent Life of his uncle, Lord Macaulay.

The second portion of the word, wala, is properly a Hindi adjectival affix, corresponding in a general way to the Latin -arius. Its usual employment as affix to a substantive makes it frequently denote “agent, doer, keeper, man, inhabitant, master, lord, possessor, owner,” as Shakespear vainly tries to define it, and as in Anglo-Indian usage is popularly assumed to be its meaning. But this kind of denotation is incidental; there is no real limitation to such meaning. This is demonstrable from such phrases as Kabul-wala ghora, ‘the Kabulian horse,’ and from the common form of village nomenclature in the Panjab, e.g. Mir-Khan-wala, Ganda-Singh-wala, and so forth, implying the village established by MirKhan or Ganda-Singh. In the three immediately following quotations, the second and third exhibit a strictly idiomatic use of wala, the first an incorrect English use of it.


“Tho’ then the Bostonians made such a fuss,
Their example ought not to be followed by us,
But I wish that a band of good Patriot-wallahs …”—In Seton-Karr, i. 93.

„ “In this year Tippoo Sahib addresses a rude letter to the Nawab of Shanur (or Savanur) as “The Shahnoorwâlah.”— Select Letters of Tippoo, 184.

1814.—“Gungadhur Shastree is a person of great shrewdness and talent. … Though a very learned shastree, he affects to be quite an Englishman, walks fast, talks fast, interrupts and contradicts, and calls the Peshwa and his ministers ‘old fools’ and … ‘dam rascals.’ He mixes English words with everything he says, and will say of some one (Holkar for instance): Bhot trickswalla tha, laiken barra akulkund, Kukhye tha, (‘He was very tricky, but very sagacious; he was cock-eyed’).”—Elphinstone, in Life, i. 276.

1853.—“‘No, I’m a Suffolk-walla.’ ”— Oakfield, i. 66.

1864.—“The stories against the Competition-wallahs, which are told and fondly believed by the Haileybury men, are all founded more or less on the want of savoir faire. A collection of these stories would be a curious proof of the credulity of the human mind on a question of class against class.”—Trevelyan, page 9.

1867.—“From a deficiency of civil servants … it became necessary to seek reinforcements, not alone from Haileybury, … but from new recruiting fields whence volunteers might be obtained … under the pressure of necessity, such an exceptional measure was sanctioned by Parliament. Mr. Elliot, having been nominated as a candidate by Campbell Marjoribanks, was the first of the since celebrated list of the Competition-wallahs.“—Biog. Notice prefixed to vol. i. of Dowson’s Edition of Elliot’s Historians of India, page xxviii.

The exceptional arrangement

  By PanEris using Melati.

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