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munsif-mizaaj

temperament of justice, fair-minded, lover of justice, just-minded, just in temperament, (a person) of propriety or taste

poshiida

concealed, hidden, secret, covered, veiled

furqat

separation (of lovers), absence (of a beloved person or friend)

Gaazii

one who fights against infidels

fard-e-jurm

charge sheet, indictment, calendar of crime

hijrat

migration, leaving of country and friends

maarg

mirgii kaa daura

epileptic seizure/ fit

chaubaaraa

top room of a house with windows on all four sides, topmost storey of a house

saraab

a vapour resembling the sea at a distance (formed by the rays of the sun or moonlight on a sandy plain)

harfii

literal, relating to letters

maa'zarat

excuse, apology, plea

naa.ib-qaasid

muKHtasar

short, succinct, abbreviated, abridged, concise

bezaar

sick of, displeased, tired of, weary, vexed, disgusted, apathetic, out of humour

gardan par chhurii phernaa

sang-e-maahii

the genus of aquatic animal whose back is hard like stone

musalsal

'ahd-e-vafaa

fulfill the promise

tark-e-duniyaa

abandoning worldly pleasures, becoming hermit

saffaak

a great shedder of blood, a cruel man, a butcher, tyrant

subuk-KHiraam

fast walker, fast runner, fast speed

me'yaar

an assay-balance, a touchstone

khisyaanii billii khambaa noche

an embarrassed or ashamed person tends to vent his/her feeling by quarrelling

shariik-e-hayaat

life partner, wife or husband mostly used for wife

lams

sense of touch, tactile sense

iKHtiyaar

jurisdiction, management, rule, sway

chaukaa cha.Dhaanaa

fixing dentures, fixing artificial teeth

gardish

faash

apparent, revealed, divulged, known, manifest, obvious

du'aa mustajaab honaa

mustajaab

qurbat

tifl-e-maktab

a school boy, inexperienced

yaum-e-vilaadat

birthday

az-sar-e-nau

anew, afresh, over again

kam-zarf

poor-spirited, Shallow, of little capacity, stupid, silly, witless

ruu-posh

hiding the face

zuud-pashemaan

repenting too soon, one who repents soon

dastaras

range of authority or control, within (one's) reach or power; to be reached with the hand, come to hand, able, approach, access, command, control

polaj

land sown every year

shiddat

abundance (of thirst, tears or lamentation, etc.)

musht-e-KHaak

(Literary) handful of dust, human being, man

aziyyat

wanton injury, molestation, annoyance, oppression

sinf

genre, sex, gender, species

faasiq

sinner, transgressor, adulterer, fornicator, rake, impious, vicious, scoundrel

'ohde

commission, office, post

munaafiq

hypocritical, a hypocrite, dissembler

mutma.in

In a state of rest, or ease, or quiet, enjoying repose and ease, still, quiet, tranquil, content, safe, secure

Urdu

Rekhta, Hindawi

sinf-e-suKHan

genre of poetry, form of poetry

aahan

iron, steel

jaan-e-man

(Literary) my life, my dear, darling

matlab

mean, sense, meaning, motive, aim, object, concern, purpose, wish, desire, selfishness, question, petition

'ahd

time, season, epoch, age

Gizaa-e-saqiil

heavy or hard to digest food

Garq

drowning, sinking, immersion

ham-'ahd

contemporary, coeval

'ahd-e-hukuumat

period of reign, period of rule

'ahd-e-nau

modern or present age

tajdiid

renewal, revival, novelty, renovation

KHud-saaKHta

home-made, self-appointed, self-styled

qanaa'at

contentment, satisfaction, tranquility, abstinence, ability to do without

Gair-muhazzab

uncivilized, uncultured

raqs

dance, dancing

'umr-e-daraaz

long-life, may (your) life (be) long

tazliil

humiliation, abasement, indignity, disgrace, degradation

qaul-e-faisal

ultimate judgement, statement that settles an issue

zulf-e-daraaz

long tresses, long locks

sarzanish

reprimand, chiding, dressing down, reproof, rebuke, reprehension

saqaafat

customs and beliefs of a specific country or group, culture

'avaamunnaas

public, common people, populace at large

aa.iin

constitution, law, code, enactment, regulation, statute, set rules or laws

zinaa-bil-jabr

rape, ravishment

e'timaad

confidence, faith, trust, reliance, dependence

e'tibaar

confidence, trust, belief, faith, reliability, credibility

baad-e-sabaa

morning breeze, the zephyr, a refreshing wind

rashk

the process of copying something achieved by someone else and trying to do it as well as they have, effort to match or surpass a person or achievement, typically by imitation, emulation

'alaamat-e-buluuG

sign of puberty, signs of being young

qaumii-salaamatii

national security, the safety of a nation, or actions taken to protect it

ziist

life, existence

'azm-e-safar

determination to travel

raqiib

a watcher, guardian

alfaaz

words, articulate sounds, terms

qillat

littleness, smallness; fewness, paucity, deficiency, scarcity, insufficiency

amvaat

deaths

taGaaful

feigned negligence, intentional connivance

firaaq

separation, disunion, abandonment

bad-nasiib

unfortunate, unlucky

'aduu

enemy, foe, oppositionist , opponent,

anjum

stars

'adl

justice, fairness, equity, rectitude

chilman

a hanging screen made of reeds or spilt bamboo for obstructing view, curtain, a venetian blind

difaa'

defence, repulsion

ulfat

love, affection, friendship, intimacy, familiarity, attachment, kindness

ranjish

indignation, grief, unpleasantness (between persons)

samaa'at

hearing, listening, (of a lawsuit)

dil-aazaarii

heart afflicting, torment of the heart, vexation of spirit, anxiety, trouble

tauhiin-e-'adaalat

contempt of court

mansuuba

plan, design, scheme, project

'adaavat

hostility, malice, enmity, animosity, hate, hatred, resentment, vindictiveness, malice, feud

'azm

determination, resolution, intention, fixed purpose, bent, aim, undertaking

shab

night, night time

aaftaab

sun

Home / Blog / Stories behind Sayings: Camel (f)or Cat?

Stories behind Sayings: Camel (f)or Cat?

by Rajat Kumar 27 November 2021 3 min Read

Stories behind Sayings: Camel (f)or Cat?

Sayings are where the constraints of grammar fall flat. Sayings are where the limits of our language are pushed. Sayings are where everyday speakers insert their ‘Private Meanings’, (hello, Wittgenstein lovers).

Sayings have stories. 

For how else did they come to be used like we know them now?

And, this blog series is just a telltale of such fascinating folklores! 

For today, let’s take the Kahawat “Uunt ke Gale mein Billi”. 

For the uninitiated, it means a compulsion, a bound, and (figuratively) a dilemma.

Now, how did we arrive at these meanings? Read on.

Long time back, in a rural setting, a farmer had a really headstrong camel that was rash, rampant, and reckless. It was so bad that it even forced heavy losses on him. It bugged him to such an extent that the farmer resorted to selling and getting rid of him for once and for all.

gar qais ki vahshat kaa kuchh uunT asar letaa
laila ko gira deta aur bhaag khaDa hota
Zareef Lakhnavi

But not a buyer in the village nodded into buying this burden of a beast. 

Oddly, once when a seller agreed to buy it, the animal ran away from him!

uu.nT jane kidhar nikal bhaga
jalte sahra men ham ko Thahra kar
Adil Mansuri

Soon our protagonist, the farmer, had to track it and was forced to return the trifling sum he got for it and retain his camel.

Troubled to the nth degree, he resolved to auction it at the NaKHKHaas - a cattle ManDi. 

When the farmer’s wife found this bit out, she was was having nothing of it and blurted out, “Bahut Khoob, ek din biwi-bachho.n ko bhi bech aaiyega!”

Unruffled at her wife’s advanced sarcasm, the farmer yanked the camel to the NaKHKHaas, but with a little touch up. He tied to his neck a loose lasso with a cat at the end of it!

banai jo bhi tarz us ne vo fan ki jaan hoti thi
ki us me uu.nT ki gardan se lambi taan hoti thi
Qateel Shifai

Onlookers, bystanders, and passerbys, whoever saw the strange Camel-Cat Combo was left startled.

And then the farmer called for bids:

Un.nT das rupay mein, billi sau mein

Jis pe paisa saath hai, donon ka sauda saath hai

People started flocking the scene, everyone from potential buyers to nobodys, piqued an interest in the deal. Although there was an opening hesitancy about this Catch-22 pricing - the camel being marked at ₹10 and the cat at ₹100 - the buyers’ instinct soon kicked in and business picked up.

The bids kept increasing with more buyers entering the equation, and quickly there was no one who could come up with an intelligent guess about how much the camel would go for!

koi pahlu nazar nahi ata
dekhiye baithe uu.nT kis karvat
Pandit Jawahar Nath Saqi

Sparing you of more details, the animal-duo went for about ₹370! Which was a big deal back then.

As the farmer returned, he handed over the camel’s ₹10 to her wife, which she discarded with disdain. Next, he gave her the remaining ₹360. Now, she was caught in a fix, whether to throw these away as well or not.

I am sure you’re smart enough to guess what happened afterwards. It’s certainly not a “Uunt ke Gale mein Billi” moment, or is it?

us kaa teDhaa uu.nT na dekh
apnaa ullu siidha kar
Mohammad Alvi

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