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Sometimes written as Wala or Wallah, it's another very useful word the Army nicked from the Indians during the time of the Empire.

It's a suffix meaning "person involved in", so a bloke who wafts the fan (the pankha) is the pankha-wallah, the bloke who does your dhobi is the dhobi-wallah and the gadgeys who run the tea-and-stickies shops are Char Wallahs.

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