The Naulahka – XV

Notes on the text

by Sharad Keskar

[Heading] This ‘Hindu Proverb’ is a prayer that lists all the common hazards of life in India.

[Page 210, line 12] by the running inch a neat exaggeration. Property was usually sold by the acre (two fifths of a hectare) but in and near towns, where the land became more and more valuable with the prospect of space for shops and hotels etc., by ‘the foot frontage’ i.e. the length of access onto the street. The phrase ‘by the running inch’ suggests that this was very valuable property.

[Page 213, line 9] shouldered up an unusual phrase but quite easily understandable in the situation; the stone is pictured as returning to its ordinary place, possibly with slight sideways movements.

[Page 220, line 11] Pagal mad. A pagal dance is a fancy-dress affair.

[Page 220, line 13] The Green Pulse of Mundore Perhaps an invented name. See “The Tomb of His Ancestors” (1897) collected in The Day’s Work (p. 111):

The throaty bugles blew the Mess-call that has a long legend behind it. First a few piercing notes like the shrieks of beaters in a far-away cover, and next, large, full, and smooth, the refrain of the wild song: “And oh, and oh, the green pulse of Mundore—Mundore!”

[Page 220, line 27] “Tiger, tiger, burning bright…’ From the first verse of the poem by William Blake (see page 137 above).

[Page 220, line 33] the great god Har Perhaps a local god, or perhaps a local name for ‘Hari the Abductor’ (who is also an avatar of Vishnu) who carries off souls to save them.

[Page 221, line 12] Mahadeo ki jai an exclamation of triumph: ‘Let the great God have the victory !’

[S.K.]