Amir Hasan in his book ‘Palace Culture of Lucknow’ has explained professions of women in the Zenanas of Nawabs. The ladies of the royal and noble families possessed a number of Khawes (paid companions). In some of the royal families 200 to 300 companions were employed.

Usually each lady of means had two to ten companions. Following is a list of the women employed in the haremsera to perform specified jobs.

• Mashata
She was employed to dress ladies.

• Asils
Maid servants usually employed for kitchen service.

• Mehri
She performed routine jobs of various types as directed by the mistress.

• Pesh Khidmat
She remained in attendance ready to convey orders to the concerned person.

• Mughlai
She was employed mainly for sewing

• Dai
She was the serving maid who came with the bride as her personal attendant.

• Chitthivavis (letter writing)
She did the writing work of the ladies and functioned as their friend, guide and philosopher.

• Tosha khana wali
She was in charge of stores and godowns

• Dastango (story teller)
Her job was to tell stories for the recreation of the inmates of the harem

• Mahaldar
She was a harbinger and carrier of messages from the deorhi to inside of the mahalsera

To assist the ladies in religious matters and to recite dirgees, Hadis khwan (reciter of hadees), Marsiya Khwan (reciter of Marsiya), Soz Khwan (reciter of soz) and Nauha Khwan (reciter of Nauha) were kept on the roles of harem.
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