Observations on the Mussulmauns of India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 594 pages of information about Observations on the Mussulmauns of India.

The shop adjoining may probably be occupied by a butcher, his meat exposed for sale in little lean morsels carefully separated from every vestige of fat[4] or skin; the butcher’s assistant is occupied in chopping up the coarser pieces of lean meat into mince meat.[5] Such shops as these are actually in a state of siege by the flies; there is, however, no remedy for the butcher but patience; his customers always wash their meat before it is cooked, so he never fails to sell even with all these disadvantages.  But it is well for the venders of more delicate articles when neither of these fly-attracting emporiums are next door neighbours, or immediately opposite; yet if it even should be so, the merchant will bear with equanimity an evil he cannot control, and persuade his customers for silver shoes or other ornamental articles, that if they are not tarnished a fly spit or two cannot lessen their value.

The very next door to a working goldsmith may be occupied by a weaver of muslin; the first with his furnace and crucible, the latter with his loom, in constant employ.  Then the snake-hookha manufacturer,[6] opposed to a mixer of tobacco, aiding each other’s trade in their separate articles.  The makers and venders of punkahs of all sorts and sizes, children’s toys, of earth, wood, or lakh; milk and cream shops; jewellers, mercers, druggists selling tea, with other medicinal herbs.  The bunyah[7] (corn-dealer) with large open baskets of sugar and flour, whose whiteness resembles each other so narrowly, that he is sometimes suspected of mixing the two articles by mistake, when certain sediments in sherbet indicate adulterated sugar.

It would take me too long were I to attempt enumerating all the varieties exposed in a Native street of shops.  It may be presumed these people make no mystery of their several arts in manufacturing, by their choice of situation for carrying on their trades.  The confectioner, for instance, prepares his dainties in despite of dust and flies, and pass by at what hour of the day you please, his stoves are hot, and the sugar simmering with ghee sends forth a savour to the air, inviting only to those who delight in the delicacies he prepares in countless varieties.

The most singular exhibitions in these cities are the several shroffs[8] (money-changers, or bankers), dispersed in every public bazaar, or line of shops.  These men, who are chiefly Hindoos, and whose credit may perhaps extend throughout the continent of Asia for any reasonable amount, take their station in this humble line of buildings, having on their right and left, piles of copper coins and cowries.[9] These shroffs are occupied the whole day in exchanging pice for rupees or rupees for pice, selling or buying gold mohurs, and examining rupees; and to all such demands upon him he is entitled to exact a regulated per centage, about half a pice in a rupee.  Small as this sum may seem yet the profits produce a handsome remuneration

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Observations on the Mussulmauns of India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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