ZENANA, s. Pers. zanana, from zan, ‘woman’; the apartments of a house in which the women of the family are secluded. This Mahommedan custom has been largely adopted by the Hindus of Bengal and the Mahrattas. Zanana is also used for the women of the family themselves. The growth of the admirable Zenana Missions has of late years made this word more familiar in England. But we have heard of more than one instance in which the objects of this Christian enterprise have been taken to be an amiable aboriginal tribe—“the Zenanas.”

[1760.—“I am informed the Dutch chief at Bimlipatam has … embarked his jenninora on board a sloop bound to Chinsurah. …”—In Long, 236.]

1761.—“… I asked him where the Nabob was? Who replied, he was asleep in his Zunana.”—Col. Coote, in Van Sittart, i. 111.

1780.—“It was an object with the Omrahs or great Lords of the Court, to hold captive in their Zenanahs, even hundreds of females.”—Hodges, Travels, 22.

1782.—“Notice is hereby given that one Zoraveer, consumah, to Hadjee Mustapha of Moorshedabad these 13 years, has absconded, after stealing. … He has also carried away with him two Women, heretofore of Sujah Dowlah’s Zenana; purchased by Hadjee Mustapha when last at Lucknow, one for 300 and the other for 1200 Rupees.”—India Gazette, March 9.


“Within the Zenana, no longer would they In a starving condition impatiently stay, But break out of prison, and all run away.”

Simpkin the Second, 42.

„ “Their behaviour last night was so furious, that there seemed the greatest probability of their proceeding to the uttermost extremities, and that they would either throw themselves from the walls, or force open the doors of the zenanahs.”—Capt. Jaques, quoted in Articles of Charge against Hastings, in Burke, vii. 27.

1789.—“I have not a doubt but it is much easier for a gentleman to support a whole zenana of Indians than the extravagance of one English lady.”—Munro’s Narr. 50.

1790.—“In a Mussleman Town many complaints arise of the Passys or Toddy Collectors climbing the Trees and overlooking the Jenanas or Women’s apartments of principal Natives.”—Minute in a letter from Bd. of Revenue to Govt. of Bengal, July 12.—MS. in India Office.

1809.—“Musulmauns … even carried their depravity so far as to make secret enquiries respecting the females in their districts, and if they heard of any remarkable for beauty, to have them forcibly removed to their zenanas.”—Lord Valentia, i. 415.

1817.—“It was represented by the Rajah that they (the bailiffs) entered the house, and endeavoured to pass into the zenana, or women’s apartments.”—J. Mill, Hist. iv. 294.

1826.—“The women in the zananah, in their impotent rage, flew at Captain Brown, who came off minus a considerable quantity of skin from his face.”—John Shipp, iii. 49.

1828.—“ ‘Thou sayest Tippoo’s treasures are in the fort?’ ‘His treasures and his Zenana; I may even be able to secure his person.’ ”—Sir W. Scott, The Surgeon’s Daughter, ch. xii.

ZEND, ZENDAVESTA, s. Zend is the name which has been commonly applied, for more than a hundred years to that dialect of the ancient Iranian (or Persian) language in which the Avesta or Sacred Booksof Zorastrianism or the old Persian religion are written. The application of the name in this way was quite erroneous, as the word Zand when used alone in the Parsi books indicates a ‘commentary or explanation,’ and is in fact applied only to some Pahlavi translation, commentary, or gloss. If the name Zend were now to be used as the designation of any language it would more justly apply to the Pahlavi itself. At the same time Haug thinks it probable that the term Zand was originally applied to a commentary written in the same language as the Avesta itself, for in the Pahlavi translations of the Yasna, a part of the Avesta, where the scriptures are mentioned, Avesta and Zend are coupled together, as of equal authority, which could hardly have been the case if by Zend the translator meant his own work. No name for the language of the ancient scriptures has been found in the Parsi books; and Avesta itself has been adopted by scholars in speaking of the language. The fragments of these scriptures are written in two dialects of the Eastern Iranian, one, the more ancient, in which the Gathas or hymns are written; and a later one which was for many centuries the spoken and written language of Bactria.

The word Zand, in Haug’s view, may be referred to the root zan, ‘to know’; Skt. jna, Gr. [Greek Text] gnw, Lat. gno (as in agnosco, cognosco), so that its meaning is ‘knowledge.’ Prof. J. Oppert, on the other hand, identifies it with old Pers. zannda, ‘prayer.’

Zendavesta is the name which has been by Europeans popularly applied to the books just spoken of as the Avesta. The term is undoubtedly an inversion, as, according to Haug, “the

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.