The widespread use of the Indian word “hookah” in the English language is a result of the colonization in British India (1858–1947), when large numbers of expatriate Britons first sampled the water pipe. William Hickey, shortly after arriving in Kolkata, India, in 1775, wrote in his Memoirs: The most highly-dressed and splendid hookah was prepared for me.

Itried 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 have frequently heard men declare they would much rather be deprived of their dinner than their hookah

  • In Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, a hookah is called chillim.
  • In Kashmir, hookah is called “Jajeer”.
  • In Maldives, hookah is called “Guduguda”.
  • In Philippines, hookah is called “Hitboo” and normally used in smoking flavored marijuana.
  • The hookah pipe is also known as the “Marra pipe” in the UK, especially in the North East, where it is used for recreational purposes.

Shisha or sheesha, meaning glass, is the common term for the hookah in Egypt, Sudan and countries of the Arab Peninsula including Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Somalia. In Yemen, the term mada’a is also used. In Persia, hookah is called “Qalyān”. Persian qalyan is included in the earliest European compendium on tobacco, the tobacolgia written by Johan Neander and published in Dutch in 1622. It seems that over time water pipes acquired a Persian connotation as in eighteenth-century Egypt the most fashionable pipes were called Karim Khan after the Persian ruler of the day. This is also the name used in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

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