Baksheesh - Wikipedia
Baksheesh or bagsheesh (from Persian: بخششbakhshesh[1]) is tipping, charitable giving, and certain forms of political corruption and bribery in the Middle East and South Asia.
Drawing of a female beggar holding a large bowl, 1879
Mounted policemen in Egypt allow photos of themselves for baksheesh, 2008
Etymology and usage
Baksheesh comes from the Persian word بخشش‎ (bakhshesh), which originated from the Middle Persian language.[2]
The word had also moved to other cultures and countries. In the Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Indian, Macedonian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, and Turkish languages, bakshish or бакшиш means "tip" in the conventional western sense. In Greek, μπαξίσι baksisi) can mean a gift in general. In German and French, Bakschisch is a small bribe (in Romanian as well, depending on the context; usually employed as a euphemism to șpagă, which means outright bribe). In Maltese the word (buqxiex) refers to a very small payment.
In literature
When American mythologist Joseph Campbell travelled on his maiden visit to India in 1954, he encountered pervasive begging which he called the "Baksheesh Complex".[4]
Mark Twain, after riding through the Biblical town of Magdala in 1867, makes note of his encounter with beggars and the term bucksheesh in his published work The Innocents Abroad: "They hung to the horses' tails, clung to their manes and the stirrups, closed in on every side in scorn of dangerous hoofs—and out of their infidel throats, with one accord, burst an agonizing and most infernal chorus: 'Howajji, bucksheesh! howajji, bucksheesh! howajji, bucksheesh! bucksheesh! bucksheesh!' I never was in a storm like that before."
Leo Deuel, a writer on archaeology, sardonically described baksheesh as "lavish remuneration and bribes, rudely demanded but ever so graciously accepted by the natives in return for little or no services rendered".[5]
Bram Stoker mentions backsheesh twice in Dracula. The log of the ship Demeter when recording the voyage from Varna to Whitby uses the word backsheesh separately during the description of two inspections by customs officers, once when the ship was entering the Bosphorus and again while on the way through the Dardanelles.[6]
  1. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  2. ^ Dehkhoda dictionary.
  3. ^ Mark McCrum. Going Dutch in Beijing: How to Behave Properly When Far Away from Home. Macmillan, 2008. ISBN 0-8050-8676-5, ISBN 9780805086768/ Pg 104
  4. ^ Campbell, Joseph (2002). Robin Larsen; Stephen Larsen; Antony Van Couvering (eds.). Baksheesh and Brahman: Asian Journals - India. New World Library. pp. xvii. ISBN 978-1-57731-237-6.
  5. ^ Deuel, Leo (1966). Testaments of Time; the Search for Lost Manuscripts and Records. New York. p. 367.
  6. ^ Stoker, Bram. Dracula. ISBN 9781603035040.
External links
From Baksheesh to Bribery: Understanding the Global Fight Against Corruption and Graft edited by T. Markus Funk and Andrew S. Boutros, Oxford University Press,
Last edited on 1 February 2021, at 11:56
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