Lascars or Seamen

Lascars were maritime laborer primarily from British India employed in British, Australian and other steamers, in the engine room under inhuman conditions. c.1931 pic rehearsing for a festival curiously named ‘Hobson-Jobson’.

In Anglo-Indian English, ‘Hobson-Jobson refers to festival or entertainment.  British Indian Muslim soldiers mourning during Moharram procession , beating their chests would cry out ‘Ya Hussain.’  The clueless British folks corrupted the term to Hosseen Gosseen, Hossy Gossy, Hossein Jossen, and ultimately Hobson-Jobson.

I remember during my school days in Dehradun, India where ‘Darwaza bund karo’ – in Hindi meaning ‘close the door’  was converted to ”There was a brown crow’ by Anglo-Indians in the neighborhood. And, ‘darwaza khol do, i.e. ‘open the door’  was ‘There was a cold day’ – nothing to do with grammar but few instances of Anglo-Indian colloquialism.

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