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SHROFFS. (185) Shroffs are not always Bunneas, though the person illustrated may have been one. They are not unfrequently Brahmins, who have adopted a secular calling, and deal in money - Khutris, and other castes, Vaisya and Sudra. Their trade is the exchange of money, the giving change for rupees in pyce or copper coin, and for pyce in cowries. There is generally an established rate for change. So many "gundas" - a gunda is four - of pyce for a rupee, and so many "gundas" of cowries for a pyce; and the rates depend upon the scarcity or otherwise of "change" in the local market. There are, besides, many former coinages, both English and native, still in circulation, each of which has its market value, and upon which the Shroff makes perhaps his greatest profit. He is possibly a sahde more liberal than the Bunnea in the change he gives; and an intending purchaser of his daily food would rather accept the rate of a regular Shroff, than trust to the chance of the change of a Bunnea. In the latter case he would be sure to be cheated out of a few cowries; in the former, he would get the bazar rate for they day. In the Photograph the Shroff is represented seated cross-legged upon his bench, with piles of cowries before him, ready counted; and he is offering a handful of pyce to a Mussulman customer, who apparently doubts whether they are enough. Before him is his day-book, into which he enters the most minute transactions, and beside him his box and small bags of money. The stall of the Shroff is not unfrequently one of the gossip places of the local community; for the Shroff has generally the news, whatever it may be. In the higher branches of his calling, the Shroff discounts hoondees, or bills of exchange, bonds, and promissory notes, charging as much discount as he can get in all such transactions, which is often as sharp as it would be from a Jew broker of London or Paris. He deals also in bullion, in small or large quantities; buys and sells ornaments, old and new pearls, and precious stones of all kinds, contriving to turn an honest penny by all. Finally, he lends money, generally on pledges
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