Glossary Part S


Ṣafar ~ صفر : Second month of the Arabian calendar. Persian transcription safar.

20 māhafar 1308 ~ 5 October 1890.

afar [12]82 ~ starting 26 June 1865.

13 māhafar.

17 shahrafar

12 ṣafar javāb navishta shuda ~ On 12 ṣafar the response (or letter) has been written.


ṣāḥib (ṣāḥab). A title of courtesy, Sir or Mr, but following surname. Lit. ‘companion’.

ṣāḥib bahādur. Title of courtesy, equivalent to English “Honourable.”

ṣāḥib bahādur. This specimen is in the hand of Maharaja Ranbir Singh, from the Jaiswal collection.

Sambhar Lek ~ Sambhar Lake, Rajasthan, largest salt lake in India.

sanh 1297. The various varieties of flourish that are found under year dates represent either sanh (no dot) in Urdu or sāl in Persian, meaning ‘year’ in a highly cursive convention. Some are very elaborate, as may be seen in this next entry:

The great flourish is the sanh. Date 18 shahr sha'bān 1283 ~ 26 December 1866.


Sāvan ~ ساون ~ सावन. Fourth month of the Hindu solar calendar answering to mid-July to mid-August.

30 sāvan 1931 ~ 13 August 1874.

13 sāvan 1929 ~ 26 July 1872.

21 sāvan 1936 ~ 4 August 1879.

6 sāvan 1949 ~ 19 July 1892, with cover corroboration.

20 sāvan 1949 ~ 2 August 1892.

9 māh sāvan az Yarqand, from a 23 July 1889 cover. Yarqand is in Chinese Turkestan.


Sha'bān ~ شعبان. Eighth month of the lunar Arabian calendar. Persian sha’bân.

18 shahr sha'bān 1283 ~ 26 December 1866.

18 shahr sha'bān 1302 ~ 2 June 1885. As above, but different year, so note how the Western month is different for the same day and month in the Moham. system.

7 sha'bān 1278 ~ 7 February 1862, i.e, in the pre-stamp period.


Shāh. Title and name. Second image, Muhammad Shāh.

shahr ~ city. It is also an Arabic word for ‘month’ used in place of Persian māh. The h is the blip in the line (with or without an underhook) or rendered as a knot. The three dots on the sh- are often missing.

shahr ~ month. Unfortunately this is sometimes confusable for a 4 in dating; see next:

shahr zelqa'de, not a 4 here.

shahr 2 rajab 1307 ~ 22 February 1890.

dar shahr Amritsar ~ to (the city of) Amritsar. The h here is the knot in the line.

shahr Amritsar.

dar shahr Peshāwar.

dar shahr Peshāwar darāk khāna... ~ to (the city of) Peshāwar, post office ...

dar shahr Srīnagar Kāshmīr.

dar shahr Wāzirābād.

Shāhpur. In full, dar zila' Shāhpur. A zila' is an administrative district. This one contained Lun Miani as tahsīl.

zila' Shāhpur.


Shavvāl ~ شوّال. The tenth month of the lunar Arabian calendar. Persian shavvâl.

27 māh shavvāl sanh 1310 ~ 14 May 1893.

23 shavvāl [1284] javāb navishta [shuda]. Dated javab notation used upon arrival at Amritsar, 17 February 1868. The cover was processed at Sialkot the day before.

14 shavvāl javāb navishta [shuda]. Dated javab notation used at Amritsar upon arrival.

17 māh shavvāl 1284 ~ 11 February 1868. On reverse of preceding, showing despatch date.


Sher Gaṛī. Spelled here shīr. The name of the native post office in the southwest section of Srinagar, site of the palace, etc., of the Maharaja, who was Sikh (Hindu). While gaī ~ ‘garhi’ means ‘fort’ unambiguously enough, the meaning of the sher has occasioned some dispute as to whether it is best understood (in this specific stew of the political, religious, linguistic, ethnic, and historical) as “lion” or “tiger.” As used with regard to Afghan stamps, sher is definitely ‘lion’ in Dari, a Persian dialect spoken mostly by Muslims. The ‘tiger’ usage occurs in Hindi and Urdu. We call the place Big Cat Gate.

dāda shud/bar shud ~ paid, given, received.

Siālkot. Sialkot, in Punjab, operated what was in effect an extraterritorial office for Jammu.

dar shahr shālkot ~ to Siālkot, showing sh-initial. The final -ţ is often shown retroflexed in Urdū (next).

[via] Siālkoţ dar Amritsar. The “flat-sign” (a small version of one of the Arabic Ts) marks the retroflexion.

Ranbir Singh. Signature of the Maharaja Ranbir Singh. Jaiswal collection.

Left edge: 16 sitambar ~ transcription from English September.

Sonīpat. Also Sonepat, town in Punjab.

Sopur, upper left corner.

Srī-nagar.

Srī-nagar Kashmīr. One may notice the three very different treatments of the long-i in these separate Srinagar entries. In the last, the letter is merely a tooth with two dots underneath.

dar shahr-e Srinagar.

dar Srīnagar bar shud ~ to Srinagar paid.

Srī-nagar Munshī Bāgh. Munshi Bagh was the Residency park in the British quarter of Srinagar.

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