Where is Billet?
Screen Academy Scotland Presents An Edinburgh college of Art Productions In association with Rangmahal Films A Documentary Film by Paul James Gomes
The Bengali word Billet comes from the Persian/Urdu word Vilayat. But the origin of the word derives from the Arabic word Wilayah, meaning distant kingdom or foreign country. Due to our colonial relationship to Great Britain, the term was used to mean England specifically, but also referred to Europe as a whole. The term conjures a fantasy world, where everything is better. If you reach Billet, your life will be meaningful, prosperous and valuable. But Billet is not a reality. It is a dreamworld, forever disappearing from view.
The British slang term ‘Blighty’, which means Britain, derives from the word Vilayat. British soldiers stationed in India during the British Raj used this term to refer to home. It was used to suggest a longing for home. The song ‘dear old blighty’ is a good example of this sentiment, used during the First World War. The term is still in use within the expatriate British community.