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In India and Pakistan, a punkah wallah or punkahwallah (Hindi: पङ्खावाला, paṅkhāvālā) is a manual fan operator. The most desired were deaf because they were always within earshot of confidential conversations. 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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