Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Hookah Pipe

A hookah (Arabic: حقة; Hindustani: हुक़ा / حقہ) is a multi-stemmed, often glass-based water pipe device for smoking, originating from India. A hookah operates by water-filtration and indirect heat. It can be used for smoking many substances, such as herbal fruits and tobacco. Depending on locality, hookahs are known as other names, such as a shisha/sheesha, water pipe, nargeela/nargile/narghile/nargileh, argeela/arghileh, okka, kalyan, or ghelyoon/ghalyan. Many of these names are of Arab, Somalian, Indian, Ethiopian, Turkish, Uzbek, or Persian origin. Narghile (نارگيله) is from the Persian word nārgil (نارگیل) or "coconut", and in Sanskrit nārikela (नारीकेल) since the original nargile came from India and was made out of coconut shells. Shisha (شيشة) is from the Persian word shishe (شیشه, literally translated as glass and not bottle). Hashish (حشيش) is an Arabic word for grass, which may have been another way of saying tobacco. Another source states, "In early Arabic texts, the term hashish referred not only to cannabis resin but also to the dried leaves or flower heads and sweetmeats made with them". Hookah itself may stem from Arabic uqqa, meaning small box, pot, or jar. Both names refer to the original methods of constructing the smoke/water chamber part of the hookah.

Narghile is the name most commonly used in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Greece, Cyprus, Albania, the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Romania, though the initial "n" is often dropped in Arabic. Shisha is more commonly seen in Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. In Iran it is called ghalyoun or ghalyan (قليان) and in Pakistan and India it is referred to as huqqa. The archaic form of this latter name, hookah is most commonly used in English for historical reasons, as it was in India that large numbers of English-speakers first sampled the effects of the water pipe. William Hickey wrote in his Memoirs that shortly after his arrival in Calcutta in 1775:
The most highly-dressed and splendid hookah was prepared for me. I tried it, but did not like it. As after several trials I still found it disagreeable, I with much gravity requested to know whether it was indispensably necessary that I should become a smoker, which was answered with equal gravity, 'Undoubtedly it is, for you might as well be out of the world as out of the fashion. Here everybody uses a hookah, and it is impossible to get on without'.....[I] have frequently heard men declare they would much rather be deprived of their dinner than their hookah.

Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, February 18, 2007