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Philip Anderson (Founders and Guardians of The Asiatic Society of Mumbai)

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Back of the Book Largely drawn from original and archival sources, this monograph stands out as a distinctive work on the biography of Philip Anderson: 1816 - 1857. The monograph sketches Anderson's contribution in the field of literature. As Chaplain of the Afghan Church in Bombay, the monograph explores his ability to navigate between his religious duties and his historical investigation. The author has critically evaluated his book, English in Western India, (1856), which encapsula...
Back of the Book

Largely drawn from original and archival sources, this monograph stands out as a distinctive work on the biography of Philip Anderson: 1816 - 1857. The monograph sketches Anderson's contribution in the field of literature. As Chaplain of the Afghan Church in Bombay, the monograph explores his ability to navigate between his religious duties and his historical investigation. The author has critically evaluated his book, English in Western India, (1856), which encapsulates not just the political account of the Early English in India; but goes beyond, it reveals a living account of the challenges and tribulations and the manner of overcoming situations that confronted the early Englishmen in India; that bribery and corruption were as much a part of the politics of the time as today. Interestingly, Anderson's significant literary contribution as the editor of the Bombay Quarterly Review (1855- 1857) makes it a valuable source material, especially for research scholars and historians. It encompasses issues on a plethora of subjects which are not only related to Bombay but are of universal relevance. The book also foregrounds his momentous role in the completion of the Afghan Church, Bombay.

About the Author

Dr. Louiza Rodrigues, Associate Professor, Department of History, Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai, has been a visiting faculty to the Welingkar Institute of Management, Research and Development and University of Mumbai. Her area of specialization and interests are Environmental History, Genealogy and Heritage of Mumbai. She has to her credit major research projects from K. R. Came Oriental Institute of Mumbai, Asiatic Society of Mumbai, Mumbai University, Exeter University for Gulf Studies, United Kingdom and Raksha Shakti University, Ahmedabad. She has also to her credit more than twenty-five research papers and articles in books and journals of national and international repute. She is also a recognized Ph.D guide in History from Ramnarain Ruia College and University of Mumbai. She was awarded in 2013 the Best Paper Award and a Cash Prize, Section III: Modern India Professor P.S. Gupta Memorial & J.C. Jha Prize in Indian History Congress, 73 Session, 2012 on 'Commercialization of Forests, Timber Extraction and Deforestation of Malabar, Early Nineteenth Century. She is the chief author of two books on the history of the Seth and Sethna family and has edited two volumes on this family which were recently released by Sir Ratan Tata in January 2015.


The early part of the twenty-first century saw a steep increase in Indian historical research. Writing a history in the contemporary period is not as much of a daunting task as it was two centuries ago. Today we have a huge corpus of literary and archival sources available that has made writing a historical text easier. Modern technology has made this far more possible and less laborious in the writing of history as various kinds of digitized official records, books, and genealogical records have become accessible through the Internet. This task would once have taken months of painstaking research in many different record repositories, in the consolidation and updating of the data on which the accuracy and reliability of such research depends. The digitization of Philip Anderson's work and other contemporary books on Bombay made the task of writing a monograph on him easier.

Colonial historiography began when Mumbai Island was transferred to the British by the Portuguese in the seventeenth century. One of the early historical accounts of the East India Company was written by the Company's servant, John Bruce, while gazetteers were compiled by Walter Hamilton, both of which typically included detailed accounts of settlement of Mumbai. By the 1850's there were hordes of books related to India, especially to Mumbai. Historical accounts of the English in India were finally written by professional historians like Kaye and Mill, and some residents of India, such as Philip Anderson, wrote a critical account of the English in western India. It is essential to draw a parallel between Anderson's literary work and that of his contemporaries to understand whether he toed the line of his contemporaries or had a different approach altogether.

The history of the 'British Raj' in the last four centuries has been documented in copious detail, by both contemporary writers and historians. Considerable research has been done on various facets of British India. In the post-colonial period, the history of the 'British Raj' has given rise to heated polemics. Although biographies on the prominent Indians and British professionals and residents of India who have made pioneering and lasting contribution to the political and socio-cultural ethos have been evaluated, yet some personalities have not received credit in historical writings. Philip Anderson's (1816-1857), a British resident of India, his life and literary contribution has not been studied or written about. Anderson, despite his importance, fell into obscurity and has been forgotten by history. He appeared neither in the Dictionary of Indian Biography nor in the Who's Who nor in any other biographical compilation until his death in December 1857 where his obituary appeared in The Bombay Quarterly Review (1857). This monograph on Philip Anderson is an attempt to primarily focus on his India connection, his contribution to the Asiatic Society of Bombay and to portray his other achievements. He served in India from 1842 to 1857. The writings of colonial historians created an impression which justified the modest, good behaviour of the Englishmen in comparison with the Indians who were barbarous. They even justified the British malpractices on the pretext that the natives were worse than the British in such practices. In such times, Anderson's book, English in Western India, serves to be anachronistic and defies the prevalent perception of Indians as 'uncivilized' and the English as the 'enlightened' He thus stands different trying to understand the human behaviour historically.

Historians like James Mill and others have severely criticized Indians and their writing reflects bias towards their countrymen. The most famous Utilitarian, James Mill, who authored The History of British India, (3 Volumes), 1817, was a Senior Examiner in Company at London and exercised a powerful influence over writings of Indian history. The colonial rulers made it a compulsion to read his book until 1916.'He commanded a dominant school of thought. Mill belonged to the Enlightenment School, the main branch of which was Utilitarianism. Mill relied more on Robert Orme's history, which was more about military expeditions; on Buchanan who was more prejudiced against India; on the account of Tyler, who was narrow in outlook; and on Dubois, a missionary and thereby subjective.

James Mill emphasized that manners and morals of the people could be improved only through law and government, as he was committed to believe that Indian society was dominated by caste, privileges, and prejudices, which can never be improved except through enlightened despotism' He does not praise British rule in unqualified terms, but says in contrast to earlier governments, is very enlightened. He vehemently condemned the entire earlier regimes in the pre-British period, particularly Hindu regimes which had failed in social justice and hence did not raise high in the scale of civilization. This kind of presentation of Hindu period created confusion in the minds of intelligentsia such as T.E. Colebrook, John Wilkins, Henry Prince and other Orientalise, who held an opposite view. The Orientalises such as Sir William Jones and John Wilkins painstakingly studied the diverse cultures of the Indians, their languages and showed sympathy to the indigenous practices and institutions.

They showed greater sympathy to Indian systems and institutions.3 If Mill's history belonged to the Enlightenment School of historiography, which subordinated liberty to happiness, Mountstuart Elphinstone4 belonged to the Romanticist School, which was more humane and less dry in logic. Deeply in love with India and history, he had all along been uneasy about Mill's history. His literary work included, Report on the Territories Conquered from the Peshawar (1809), and History of Hindu and Muhammodan India (1826). His mission was the refutation of Mill's Utilitarian view of History. He agreed with the concept of Vico that human nature can never be measured by the common yardstick. It differed in time and space, region to region and period. If mill’s history was emotional outburst, excited challenge among Indian Historians, Mountstuart Elphinstone was more critical , sober creative and sympathetic towards Indians. On the other hand, the school of Evangelicals backed by missionaries, attempted to justify British rule in India as divinely conceived and tried to convert Indian society through proselytising.


  A note from the General Edition vi
  Introduction viii
I Early Life and Connection with India 1
II Afghan Charch\St. John's Church at Colaba: An Architectural Marvel 9
III The Literary Heritage: A Pioneering Historian and Antiquarian 17
IV A Literary Prodigy: The Bombay Quarterly Review (1855 to 1857) 38
V Miscellaneous Observations: A Debout Christian Priest 47
VI Evaluation 54
  Appendix: Obituary of Philip Anderson 59
  Notes 63
  Bibliography 69

Sample Pages

Item Code: NAP590 Author: Louiza Rodrigues Cover: Paperback Publisher: Indus Source Books ISBN: 9788188569830 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch Pages: 87 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 120 gms
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