This article is an extract from
THE TRIBES and CASTES of BENGAL.
Printed at the Bengal Secretariat Press.
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The makers of charcoal balls for tobacco-pipes are always Muhammadans, and there are always twenty-five houses occupied by them in Dacca. Boot sellers and Tikiya manufacturers never sell their goods on Friday, the Muhammadan Sunday, a custom for which they can assign no reason.
Charcoal is prepared in huts erected on the borders of jungly tracts, thorny, it is sprinkled with water and pounded in a "Dhenki," after which the powder is sifted, and mixed with Congee water until a soft paste is formed. Women manipulate this into flattish cakes, which are arranged on mats and placed in the sun. Common "Guls," as they are called, sell for six or seven paisa a thousand; when bought wholesale by brokers they are sold at so much a mat, or so much for three mats, equal one "Gasht," or day's sale, and costing from five to six anas.
Guls again are either "Kachaha," soft, or "Pakka," hard; the former being made like the "Tikiya," with the addition of rice paste (Lei), and the juice of the "Gab" (Embryopteris glutinifera); the latter being prepared in a similar way, but, after adding the Gab, the mass is again pounded, put into a vessel in which it is trodden with the feet, "Methi" (Trigonella), coriander, and syrup (Rab), being mixed with it.
The "Kachcha" gul blackens cloth, and is rapidly consumed when once a-glow; the "Pakka" does not soil the fingers or cloth, it burns slowly, and when properly made will be found burning at the centre for some time after immersion in water. The Kachcha sell at from five to six anas a hundred, while the Pakka fetch sixteen to twenty-four anas.