The Asiatic Society
( Founded in 1784 )
PARK STREET, KOLKATA : 700 016
Society also proved to be a pivotal centre of Oriental studies
and research and extended extended its helping hand to the other
two major centres of activity that paved the way to the Indian
Renaissance, namely, the College at Fort William and the Serampore
Mission of William Carey. In 1805 a proposal came to the Asiatic
Society from the Serampore Mission to publish classical Sanskrit
works with their English translations, and the first book chosen
for this was the Sanskrit epic, Ramayana.
For this purpose the Society spent from its fund five thousand
and five hundred rupees. From 1788 till its cessation in 1839
the journal Asiatic Researches ran into twenty volumes and was
superseded by the Journal of the Asiatic
Society, henceforth the official organ of the Society.
The Society also started in 1905 a new serial entitled the Memoirs
which was discontinued in 1933. The nucleus of the Society's own
library was formed soon after the building was completed in 1808.
The Fort William College which was helped a lot academically by
the Society, presented books to the Society from its own collection,
and another valuable collection of books came from the
Palace Library of Tipu Sultan in 1808.
The Society also started a public museum
under its own auspices in 1814 and its first Superintendent was
Dr. Nathaniel Wallich. Some of the famous contributions of the
Asiatic Society during the first thirty years are as follows:
William Jones's Third Annual Discourse
in 1788 on Indo-European Language and Culture;
Charles Wilkins's 'A Royal Grant of Land on a Copper Plate' in
S. Davis's 'On Astronomical Calculations of the Hindus' in 1795;
H. T. Colebrooke's 'On the Duties of a Faithful Hindu Widow' in
J. Duncan's 'Discovery of Two Urns in the Vicinity of Benares'
H. T. Colebrooke's 'On the Vedas' in 1805;
J. Malcolm's 'Sketch of the Sikhs' in 1810;
F. Wilford's 'On the Ancient Geography of India' in 1815 and
E. Strachey's 'On Early History of Algebra' in 1816.
It may be mentioned that two decades before Ram Mohan Roy's first
tract on Sati it was H. T. Colebrooke who proved from the early
texts that the practice of Sati was a gross deviation from the
authentic tradition. The founding fathers of the Asiatic Society
were responsible for the rediscovery of India and her past.