For thirty years in India at the cusp of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Henry Thomas Colebrooke was an administrator and scholar with the East India Company. The Making of Western Indology explains and evaluates Colebrooke’s role as the founder of modern Indology.

The book discusses how Colebrooke embodies the significant passage from the speculative yearnings attendant on eighteenth-century colonial expansion, to the professional, transnational ethos of nineteenth-century intellectual life and scholarly enquiry. It covers his career with the East India Company, from a young writer to member of the supreme council and theorist of the Bengal government. Highlighting how his unprecedented familiarity with a broad range of literature established him as the leading scholar of Sanskrit and president of the Asiatic Society in Calcutta, it shows how Colebrooke went on to found the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and set standards for western Indology. Written by renowned academics in the field of Indology, and drawing on new sources, this biography is a useful contribution to the reassessment of Oriental studies that is currently taking place.

chapter 1|12 pages

From heir to the Crown to turnspit

London, 1765–1782

chapter 2|20 pages

Against the grain

Rural Bengal, 1783–1795

chapter 3|28 pages

Law and Sanskrit

Mirzapur, 1795–1801

chapter 4|28 pages

A matter of duty

Calcutta, 1802–1807

chapter 5|42 pages

Theorist of the Bengal government

Calcutta, 1807–1814

chapter 6|48 pages

Promoting India

London, 1815–1827

chapter 7|18 pages


London, 1827–1837

chapter 8|8 pages