ZERBAFT, s. Gold-brocade, Pers. zar, ‘gold,’ baft, ‘woven.’

[1900.—“Kamkwabs, or kimkhwabs (Kincob), are also known as zar-baft (gold-woven), and mushajjar (having patterns).”—Yusuf Ali, Mon. on Silk Fabrics, 86.]

ZILLAH, s. This word is properly Ar. (in Indian pron.) zila, ‘a rib,’ thence ‘a side,’ a district. It is the technical name for the administrative districts into which British India is divided, each of which has in the older provinces a Collector, or Collector and Magistrate combined, a Sessions Judge, &c., and in the newer provinces, such as the Punjab and B. Burma, a Deputy Commissioner. [1772.—“With respect to the Talookdarrys and inconsiderable Zemindarrys, which formed a part of the Huzzoor (Huzoor) Zilahs or Districts which paid their rents immediately to the General Cutcherry at Moorshedabad. …”—W. Hastings, in Hunter, Annals of Bengal, 4th ed., 388.]

1817.—“In each district, that is in the language of the country, each Zillah … a Zillah Court was established.”—Mill’s Hist. v. 422.

ZINGARI, n.p. This is of course not Anglo-Indian, but the name applied in various countries of Europe, and in various modifications, zincari, zingani, zincali, chingari, zigeuner, &c., to the gypsies.

Various suggestions as to its derivation have been made on the supposition that it is of Indian origin. Borrow has explained the word as ‘a person of mixt blood,’ deriving it from the Skt. sankara, ‘made up.’ It is true that varna sankara is used for an admixture of castes and races (e.g. in Bhagavad Gita, i. 41, &c.), but it is not the name of any caste, nor would people to whom such an opprobrious epithet had been applied be likely to carry it with them to distant lands. A writer in the Saturday Review once suggested the Pers. zingr, ‘a saddler.’ Not at all probable. In Sleeman’s Ramaseeana or Vocabulary of the peculiar Language used by the Thugs (Calcutta, 1836), p. 85, we find:

Chingaree, a class of Multani Thugs, sometimes called Naiks, of the Mussulman faith. They proceed on their expeditions in the character of Brinjaras, with cows and bullocks laden with merchandize, which they expose for sale at their encampments, and thereby attract their victims. They use the rope of their bullocks instead of the roomal in strangling. They are an ancient tribe of Thugs, and take their wives and children on their expeditions.”

[These are the Changars of whom Mr. Ibbetson (Panjab Ethnog. 308) gives an account. A full description of them has been given by Dr. G. W. Leitner (A Sketch of the Changars and of their Dialect, Lahore, 1880), in which he shows reason to doubt any connection between them and the Zingari.] De Goeje (Contributions to the Hist. of the Gypsies) regards that people as the Indian Zott (i.e. Jatt of Sind). He suggests as possible origins of the name first shikari (see SHIKAREE), and then Pers. changi, ‘harper,’ from which a plural changan actually occurs in Lane’s Arabian Nights, iii. 730, note 22. [These are the Al-Jink, male dancers (see Burton, Ar. Nights, viii. 18).]
If the name is to be derived from India, the term in Sleeman’s Vocabulary seems a more probable origin than the others mentioned here. But is it not more likely that zingari, like Gipsy and Bohemian, would be a name given ab extra on their appearing in the West, and not carried with them from Asia?

ZIRBAD, n.p. Pers. zir-bad, ‘below the wind,’ i.e. leeward. This is a phrase derived from nautical use, and applied to the countries eastward of India. It appears to be adopted with reference to the S.W. Monsoon. Thus by the extracts from the Mohit or ‘Ocean’ of Sidi ’Ali Kapudan (1554), translated by Joseph V. Hammer in the Journ. As. Soc. Bengal, we find that one chapter (unfortunately not given) treats “Of the Indian Islands above and below the wind.” The islands “above the wind” were probably Ceylon, the Maldives, Socotra, &c., but we find no extract with precise indication of them. We find however indicated as the “tracts situated below the wind” Malacca, Sumatra, Tenasserim, Bengal, Martaban, Pegu. The phrase is one which naturally acquires a specific meaning among sea-faring folk, of which we have an instance in the Windward and Leeward Islands of the W. Indies. But probably it was adopted from the Malays, who make use of the same nomenclature, as the quotations show.

1442.—“The inhabitants of the sea coasts arrive here (at Ormuz) from the countries of Tchin, Java, Bengal, the cities of Zirbad.”—Abdurrazzak, in India in the XVth Cent. 6.

1553.—“… Before the foundation of Malaca, in this Cingapura … met all the navigators of the seas to the West of India and of those to the East of it, which last embrace the regions of Siam, China, Choampa, Camboja, and the many thousand

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