I still have my early and well thumbed 1960's copy of the booklet
'The Malim Sahib's Hindustani'
by C.T.Wilson of the Bombay Pilot Service
The following explanation is on the front cover:
"for ship's officers who wish to acquire a working knowledge of low
spoken by native crews, coolies, servants and longstoreman generally.
All nautical terms and words in common use both ashore and afloat are
All quite un-PC nowadays, and understandably so, and I mention this
booklet only out of possible interest to members of this forum.
5/- net published by Brown Son & Ferguson Ltd.
originally printed in 1920, my reprint from the 1958 edition
and inside, says:
'For use both ashore and afloat in connection with Lascars and all
Natives of India who speak the Bazaar "Bat" '
'It is not a complete work on Hindustani, or even technically or
grammatically correct. It is however, compiled by a seaman for seamen...'
This booklet proved a marvellous companion. Although mostly forgotten
now, I was able to hold quite reasonable conversations. My attempts at
Hindustani caused much amusement, but I think may have been appreciated
a small way.
I was a deck apprentice on BP Tankers which had many ships with Indian
crews - Hindu seamen, Muslim firemen, and with Christian Goanese
the officers and supernumeries.
They would join in Bombay and serve with the ship for a year, after which
we would return to Bombay for a crew change. I gained a long and abiding
respect for India and it's inhabitants, enhanced by an uncle who was a
soldier and latterly served with the Indian army from 1917-1947. He,
his wife, and
his children felt more at home in India than in England and had a deep and
attachment for all aspects of this remarkable country.