Fakir

A Mendicant

A Mendicant

The term mendicant refers to begging or relying on charitable donations, and is most widely used for religious followers or ascetics who rely on charity to survive. Plate & Co.

Alastor Mystic

Alastor Mystic

[Original back of advertising card] Alastor-Mystic-The Astrologer, Handreader and Clairvoyant from England. May be Consulted Daily at the Great Eastern Hotel, Calcutta, Room 59. (Hours 10 A.M. to 7 P.M.

A Mountebank

A Mountebank

A curious case of an Italian word finding itself stamped upon a postcard of a characteristic type in India (the fakir, in this case a mendacious one). Mountebank is an old word for a charlatan, or salesman of quack medicines.

Calcutta

Calcutta

A fourth card in Rossler’s 1897 lithographic series of Calcutta features a fakir, the male counterpoint to the nautch dancer. Above the fakir is his spiritual guide along lifelong wanderings, Lord Shiva.

A Mohamedan Fakir

A Mohamedan Fakir

John Campbell Oman (1841-1911), author of The Mystics, Ascetics and Saints of India (1903) describes the incident that made him take it upon himself to write this encyclopedic work towards the end of his life.

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