English is full of amazing expressions. Here is just one of thousands:
‘I’m going doolally tap’ (I’m going mad).
Where on earth did this come from?
In India, there was a hospital at a place called Deolali used by British soldiers during the time of the Raj and in the World Wars. ‘Tap’ comes from Sanskrit and can mean feverish, tired, even mad.
So the saying reflects a mixture of illness, boredom, fatigue, shell-shock, idleness and so on and it has gradually taken on a more specific meaning of madness.
Staying in India, there was a word in very common use during WW1, which was ‘Blighty’, a reference to Britain made by soldiers when overseas. But where did this word come from?
It was used throughout the 1800s in India to mean an English or British visitor. According to recent editions of the Oxford English Dictionary, the word derives from “bilayati”, a regional variant of the Hindi word “vilayati”, meaning “foreign”, “British”, “English” or “whitey.”
In India, vilayati came to be known as an adjective meaning European, and specifically English or British.
The term is commonly used as a term of endearment by the expatriate British community or those on holiday to refer to home.
During World War I, “Dear Old Blighty” was a common sentimental reference, suggesting a longing for home by soldiers in the trenches. The term was particularly used by World War I poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. During that war, a “Blighty wound” — a wound serious enough to require recuperation away from the trenches, but not serious enough to kill or maim the victim — was hoped for by many, and sometimes self-inflicted.