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In India and Pakistan, a punkhawallah or punkha wala (Hindustani: पङ्खा वाला, pangkhā vālā) is a manual fan operator. A punkah is a type of ceiling fan used in the Indian subcontinent before the electric fan. The punkhawallah was the servant who worked it, often using a pulley system. The word pankha originated from pankh, the wings of a bird which produce a draft when flapped.
In modern use, a person selling, repairing or making fans, both handheld and electric, would also be known colloquially as a punkha wala, since the term means fan guy or the guy with the fans.
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