Mar: देवळाली dēvaḷālī
‘God’s Village’ [Devalali, Deollaly] -Town/Hill Station Maharashtra
From Mar: deva/deo, ‘god, ‘deity’; and Mar: valli, ‘village’
The slang word ‘doolally’ describes someone who is ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’. It is a 19th century word derived from the name of a small military camp in Maharashtra called Deolali. The original term was doolally-tap [Hin: tap, ‘fever’, ‘heat’]. Deolali was a transit camp designed to ‘rapidly acclimatise’ British soldiers who had just arrived and to accommodate those waiting for the next troop ship back.
Unfortunately, the ships only sailed during the winter and spring months, leaving many soldiers with an agonising wait during the summer heat and monsoon months. Malaria, relapsing fever, and syphilis were rife, and living conditions were basic and cramped. Suicide, depression and mental illness were common. The soldiers’ phrase: doolally tap or going doolally described the behaviour of men exposed to the conditions here for a bit too long.