Charles H.G. Nida, Chota Sahib: you’ve had a busy day (2007), edited by Clark Nida
and serialised on this website, starting with: Chapter 1. The Bombay Appointment 
This is a glossary of colonial jargon, mostly derived from the lingua franca of India referred-to in the author’s day as Hindustani. Also included are some English dialect words, plus words in common use during the Edwardian era which will be unfamiliar to the present-day reader. The meanings offered below are those intended by the author, not the commonly accepted meanings nowadays. See, for example, Eurasian.
NB: Italics, e.g. Hindustani, designates a word explained elsewhere in the glossary.
Long-sleeved, full-length outer garment buttoning up to the top of the neck.
Assistant, of some unspecified but usually high rank.
North English dialect: a euphemism for “By God”.
Old name for Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra State, Western India. Under the British Raj the city grew to be the chief port of India and the centre of trade and civil administration.
A travelling salesman.
A large measure (typically of whisky).
Tea made in the Indian way: by decoction, as distinct from the English way: by infusion.
A bed strung with tapes or light ropes.
(Lit. “little meal”). “Breakfast”, or more strictly, a light meal on waking.
(Lit. “Little man”). A European in a occupation of lowly status, like shop-worker or box-wallah (travelling salesman) – as was the author.
Crown, half a crown
A silver coin (rare even in those days) worth five shillings, or one-quarter of a pound sterling (£). Far more common was a coin called “half a crown”, worth one-eighth of a pound or two shillings and sixpence, the largest silver coin in common currency and prized as such by schoolchildren.
The designated hostel for travellers on official business. Every station was legally required to maintain one.
“Tailor” or “seamster”. A typical derzi could produce a uniform, a wedding dress, or any article of clothing in current use.
A crude ox-drawn conveyance.
The driver of an ekka.
One of the less pejorative terms for persons of mixed European and Far Eastern ancestry, often being the children of British soldiers and Indian women. They were routinely denied social acceptance by both Europeans and Indians.
A racial term, like Caucasian, applicable to anyone with a white skin. When used by the author, Charles Nida, this usually means British, although he’d have applied it to a Frenchman or a Russian.
A horse-drawn vehicle like an English victoria, used in Bombay in 1913 as a taxi-cab.
A British £1 note issued at the end of the 19th Century, bearing an unflattering image in green ink of the elderly Queen Victoria.
An exclusive sports club for Europeans.
“Meal” or “Dinner”.
Usually refers to the group of Indo-Aryan languages and dialects which includes Urdu and Hindi. Used by the author to mean the lingua franca employed by Europeans when addressing native servants.
A riding cabin on top of an elephant.
Hindu religious festival in Puri, during which gigantic images of the gods (“juggernauts”) are drawn on heavy wheeled trolleys through the streets.
The housekeeper of a dak bungalow.
Heavy knife in common use on the North West Frontier.
100,000. Used in a general sense to mean a very great number.
“Lady”, “Madam” or “Wife”.
The Indian hinterland.
(French). Mail to be collected in-person; the office where this was collected.
Headgear consisting of a loosely folded cloth.
“Correct”, “genuine” or “100%”.
A large fan of feathers, worked by pulling on a rope through the wall. Occasionally used to mean an electric ceiling fan.
A servant (typically a small boy) who works a punkah.
A thin quilted mattress used by Europeans when travelling.
The official currency of India (Rp). The author values it at one shilling and fourpence (written 1s 4d or 1/4 in the old £sd currency of Britain) yielding 15 rupees to the pound sterling (£).
“Gentleman” or “Sir”. A title of respect for a native Indian of high rank. Used as a courtesy title by Indians when addressing Europeans, also when referring to Europeans in conversation.
“Peace”. The traditional greeting among Muslims.
“Big-game hunter”–used here to mean the hunting party.
A silver coin equal in denomination to the present-day 5p piece. One-half of a pound sterling (nowadays 50p) was always referred to as “ten shillings”. In the pre-decimalisation (£sd) coinage of Great Britain, the shilling (s), often written 1/-, was divided into twelve old pence (d).
The smallest British silver coin, worth half a shilling or one-fortieth of a pound sterling (£). Had the colloquial meaning (usually as the adjective: sixpenny) of insignificant value, c/f Amer: two-bit.
Refers not only to a railway station, but also the town, city or settlement it serves. The latter is the usual meaning.
“Lunch”, or more strictly, a light meal at midday.
A light open carriage, usually horse-drawn as opposed to ox-drawn (c/f ekka).
The driver of a tonga.
A light horse-drawn carriage for two passengers, with a fold-back hood and a raised seat in front for the driver.
“Value Pay Postman”–a common method in past times of paying for goods on delivery.
“Man” or “Operative”, mostly used in combinations, like ekka-wallah.
“Young Women’s Christian Association”. Also used to refer to a hostel run by this organisation. In Edwardian times, such hostels catered exclusively for women, and were out-of-bounds to men.