GRASSIA, s. Gras (said to mean ‘a mouthful’) is stated by Mr. Forbes in the Ras Mala (p. 186) to have been in old times usually applied to alienations for religious objects; but its prevalent sense came to be the portion of land given for subsistence to cadets of chieftains’ families. Afterwards the term gras was also used for the blackmail paid by a village to a turbulent neighbour as the price of his protection and forbearance, and in other like meanings. “Thus the title of grassia, originally an honourable one, and indicating its possessor to be a cadet of the ruling tribe, became at last as frequently a term of opprobrium, conveying the idea of a professional robber” (Ibid. Bk. iv. ch. 3); [ed. 1878, p. 568].

[1584.—See under COOLY.]

c. 1665.—“Nous nous trouvâmes au Village de Bilpar, dont les Habitans qu’on nomme Gratiates, sont presque tous Voleurs.”—Thevenot, v. 42.

1808.—“The Grasias have been shewn to be of different Sects, Casts, or families, viz., 1st, Colees and their Collaterals; 2nd, Rajpoots; 3rd, Syed Mussulmans; 4th, Mole-Islams or modern Mahomedans. There are besides many others who enjoy the free usufruct of lands, and permanent emolument from villages, but those only who are of the four aforesaid warlike tribes seem entitled by prescriptive custom…to be called Grassias.”—Drummond, Illustrations.

1813.—“I confess I cannot now contemplate my extraordinary deliverance from the Gracia machinations without feelings more appropriate to solemn silence, than expression.”—Forbes, Or. Mem. iii. 393; [conf. 2nd ed. ii. 357].

1819.—“Grassia, from Grass, a word signifying ‘a mouthful.’ This word is understood in some parts of Mekran, Sind, and Kutch; but I believe not further into Hindostan than Jaypoor.”—Mackmurdo, in Tr. Lit. Soc. Bo. i. 270. [On the use in Central India, see Tod, Annals, i. 175; Malcolm, Central India, i. 508.]


GREEN-PIGEON. A variety of species belonging to the sub. - fam. Treroninae, and to genera Treron, Cricopus, Osmotreron, and Sphenocereus, bear this name. The three first following quotations show that these birds had attracted the attention of the ancients.

c. 180.—“Daimachus, in his History of India, says that pigeons of an apple-green colour are found in India.”—Athenaeus, ix. 51.

c. A.D. 250.—“They bring also greenish ( [Greek Text] wcraV) pigeons which they say can never be tamed or domesticated.”—Aelian, De Nat. Anim. xv. 14.

„ “There are produced among the Indians…pigeons of a pale green colour ( [Greek Text] clwroptiloi); any one seeing them for the first time, and not having any knowledge of ornithology, would say the bird was a parrot and not a pigeon. They have legs and bill in colour like the partridges of the Greeks.”—Ibid. xvi. 2.

1673.—“Our usual diet was (besides Plenty of Fish) Water-Fowl, Peacocks, Green Pidgeons, Spotted Deer, Sabre, Wild Hogs, and sometimes Wild Cows.”—Fryer, 176.

1825.—“I saw a great number of peafowl, and of the beautiful greenish pigeon common in this country…”—Heber, ii. 19.

GREY PARTRIDGE. The common Anglo-Indian name of the Hind. titar, common over a great part of India, Ortygornis Ponticeriana, Gmelin. “Its call is a peculiar loud shrill cry, and has, not unaptly, been compared to the word Pateela-pateela-pateela, quickly repeated but preceded by a single note, uttered two or three times, each time with a higher intonation, till it gets, as it were, the key-note of its call.”—Jerdon, ii. 566.

GRIBLEE, s. A graplin or grapnel. Lascars’ language (Roebuck).

GRIFFIN, GRIFF, s.; GRIFFISH, adj. One newly arrived in India, and unaccustomed to Indian ways and peculiarities; a Johnny Newcome. The origin of the phrase is unknown to us. There was an Admiral Griffin who commanded in the Indian seas from Nov. 1746 to June 1748, and was not very fortunate. Had his name to do with the origin of the term? The word seems to have been first used at Madras (see Boyd, below). [But also see the quotation from Beaumont & Fletcher, below.] Three references below indicate the parallel terms formerly used by the Portuguese at Goa, by the Dutch in the Archipelago, and by the English in Ceylon.

[c. 1624.—“Doves beget doves, and eagles eagles, Madam: a citizen’s heir, though never so rich, seldom at the best proves a gentleman.”—Beaumont & Fletcher, Honest Man’s Fortune, Act III. sc. 1, vol. iii. p.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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