DUCKS, s. The slang distinctive name for gentlemen belonging to the Bombay service; the correlative of the Mulls of Madras and of the Qui-His of Bengal. It seems to have been taken from the term next following.

1803.—“I think they manage it here famously. They have neither the comforts of a Bengal army, nor do they rough it, like the Ducks.”—Elphinstone, in Life, i. 53.

1860.—“Then came Sire Jhone by W aye of Baldagh and Hormuz to ye Costys of Ynde…And atte what Place ye Knyghte came to Londe, theyre ye ffolke clepen Duckns (quasi DUCES INDIAE).”—Extract from a MS. of the Travels of Sir John Maundevill in the E. Indies, lately discovered (Calcutta).

[In the following the word is a corruption of the Tam. túkku, a weight equal to 1¼ viss, about 3 lbs, 13 oz.

[1787.—“We have fixed the produce of each vine at 4 ducks of wet pepper.”—Purwannah of Tippoo Sultan, in Logan, Malabar, iii. 125.]


1860.—“A fish nearly related to the salmon is dried and exported in large quantities from Bombay, and has acquired the name of Bombay Ducks.”—Mason, Burmah, 273.

DUFFADAR, s. Hind. (from Arabo-Pers.) daf’adar, the exact rationale of which name it is not easy to explain, [daf’a, ‘a small body, a section,’ daf’adar, ‘a person in charge of a small body of troops’]. A petty officer of native police (v. burkundauze, v.); and in regiments of Irregular Cavalry, a non-commissioned officer corresponding in rank to a corporal or naik. 1803.—“The pay…for the duffadars ought not to exceed 35 rupees.”—Wellington, ii. 242.

DUFTER, s. Ar.—H. daftar. Colloquially ‘the office,’ and inter-changeable with cutcherry, except that the latter generally implies an office of the nature of a Court. Daftarkhana is more accurate. [but this usually means rather a record-room where documents are stored]. The original Arab. daftar is from the Greek [Greek Text] difqera=membranum, ‘a parchment,’ and thin ‘paper’ (whence also diphtheria), and was applied to loose sheets filed on a string, which formed the record of accounts; hence daftar becomes ‘a register,’ a public record. In Arab. any account-book is still a daftar, and in S. India daftar means a bundle of connected papers tied up in a cloth, [the basta of Upper India].

c. 1590.—“Honest experienced officers upon whose forehead the stamp of correctness shines, write the agreement upon loose pages and sheets, so that the transaction cannot be forgotten. These loose sheets, into which all sanads are entered, are called the daftar.”—Ain, i. 260, and see Blochmann’s note there.

[1757.—“…that after the expiration of the year they take a discharge according to custom, and that they deliver the accounts of their Zemindarry agreeable to the stated forms every year into the Dufter Cana of the Sircar….”—Sunnud for the Company’s Zemindarry, in Verelst, View of Bengal, App. 147.]

DUFTERDAR, s. Ar.—P.—H. daftardar, is or was “the head native revenue officer on the Collector’s and Sub-Collector’s establishment of the Bombay Presidency” (Wilson). In the provinces of the Turkish Empire the Daftardar was often a minister of great power and importance, as in the case of Mahommed Bey Daftardar, in Egypt in the time of Mahommed ’Ali Pasha (see Lane’s Mod. Egyptns., ed. 1860, pp. 127–128). The account of the constitution of the office of Daftardar in the time of the Mongol conqueror of Persia, Hulagu, will be found in a document translated by Hammer-Purgstall in his Gesch. der Goldenen Horde, 497–501.

DUFTERY, s. Hind. daftari. A servant in an Indian office (Bengal), whose business it is to look after the condition of the records, dusting and binding them; also to pen-mending, paper-ruling, making of envelopes, &c. In Madras these offices are done by a Moochy. [For the military sense of the word in Afghanistan, see quotation from Ferrier below.]

1810.—“The Duftoree or office-keeper attends solely to those general matters in an office which do not come within the notice of the crannies, or clerks.”—Williamson, V. M. i. 275.

[1858.—“The whole Afghan army consists of the three divisions of Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat; of these, the troops called Defteris (which receive pay), present the following effective force.”—Ferrier, H. of the Afghans, 315 seq.]

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