I had been wondering about a non-native word in Tamil: Thabal, meaning post. This word has origins from elsewhere, and I had not been able to figure out the etymology. Searches in Internet had also proved futile.
Meanwhile I came across this article in the newspaper yesterday, which talks about the story of the General Post Office in Chennai. It seems a certain English gentleman by name John Burlton wrote to the government seeking establishment of Tapall facility in Chennai (called Madras back then).
In a letter that Burlton sent to the Government, he said, “The proposal which I some time delivered to Lord Macartney which I now have the honour to send to you is to establish a regular Tapall (mail), upon a plan similar to that at Bengal which will exclude the company’s servants from the privilege of receiving their letters free of postage.”
Another sentence also employs tappies:
The government replied, “Having taken into consideration the establishing of a regular P.O. we directed our accountant to prepare a statement of monthly charges of the ‘Tappies’ (Tapal) in Carnatic and Nothern Circars.”
Was there any similar word for post/letter in the 18th century English, which has fallen out of usage since? Or has this word been borrowed from neighbouring states (the French or Dutch provinces)?