Chhota haazri

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Chhota haazri or Chota hazri (Hindi: छोटा हाज़िरी, from the Hindustani words for "small" and "presence") was a meal served in households and barracks, particularly in northern British India, shortly after dawn.

In subsequent years, the tradition of such a meal has disappeared, but the phrase lives on in Anglo-Indian households, certain regiments of the Indian Army, and in public schools —such as The Doon School, Dehradun, Mayo College, Ajmer, Lawrence School, Sanawar, Lawrence School, Lovedale and St. Paul's School, Darjeeling, where it has come to refer to a cup of tea with a biscuit served at 6:00 a.m.[1]

Historical use of the word[edit]

In 1912 explorer Aurel Stein wrote the following during an expedition across the mountains of Pashtunistan:

...  11.30 p.m. I was up again to start the next days work, and after a hasty Chota Hazri which my cook was determined to treat as a supper, I was ready to set my detachments in motion.[2]

In 1947, during the political integration of the Indian princely states, the word 'Chhota Hazri' was used as a pun to refer to a small princely state in an ironic way.

...  First, a small headline, 'Mr V. P. Menon Visits State of Chhota Hazri';
Then, in the Governor-General's daily Court Circular, a brief notice, 'H. H. the Maharajah of Chhota Hazri has arrived';
And soon, a banner headline, 'CHHOTA HAZRI MERGED'.[3]

'Chota Hazri' was the name of a highly successful thoroughbred horse in British Horse racing around mid twentieth century.[4]


  1. ^ The Ruling Caste:Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj by David Gilmour. Farrar, Strous and Giroux, London [2006] ISBN 0-374-28354-0
  2. ^ Ruins of desert Cathay : personal narrative of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China by Stein, Aurel, Sir, 1862-1943; Archaeological Survey of India
  3. ^ Ramachandra Guha, India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy. HarperCollins, 2007; pg. 43
  4. ^ Sporthorse Data - Chota Hazri

External links[edit]