भारत यानि इण्डिया के मूलनिवासी On the Original Inhabitants of Bharatavarsa or India bharat yani India ke mulnivasi

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Hindi translation of On the Original Inhabitants of Bharatavarsa or India by Gustav Salomon Oppert

Gustav Oppert was born in Hamburg, Germany, on July 30, 1836. He studied Ancient Philology, Oriental Studies, and History at the Universities of Bonn, Leipzig and Berlin, respectively. After his doctoral degree from the University of Halle, he went to Oxford University in 1860. He taught at Queen’s College, Belfast, till 1865. He was an Assistant Librarian at the Royal Library of Windsor, where he seems to have strengthened his foundations in Oriental Culture and History, and Indology.

Thereafter, he was for two years at the Punjab University College for unexplained reasons before accepting, in 1872, the professorship of Sanskrit (and Logic) at Presidency College, Madras, succeeding J. Pickford, the first Professor of Sanskrit. For 21 years, Oppert worked at the College. Conjointly he was the Government Translator for Telugu. He returned to Germany after touring northern India, China, Japan, and America, and settled in Berlin in 1894. He worked as a Privat-Dozent in Dravidian languages at the University of Berlin until his death on March 1, 1908.

Oppert’s contributions to Indian history and culture, while he was in Madras, are impressive. He wrote several authoritative books and monographs, starting from the legend and history of Presbyter John (done before he arrived in Madras). A few of the volumes which he wrote while in Madras were: On the classification of languages: a contribution to comparative philology (Madras Journal of Literature and Science, Madras, 1879); On the Weapons, army organization, and political maxims of the ancient Hindoos with special reference to gunpowder and firearms (Publisher? Madras, 1880); and the Original inhabitants of Baratavarsa or India: the Dravidians (Publisher? Westminster, 1893). Oppert edited the Madras Journal of Literature and Science between 1878 and 1882. After leaving Madras, he documented his travels in northern India in an article Reise nach Kulu in Himalaya (Travels in Kulu in the Himalaya) (1895). Oppert’s first Sanskrit work was his Lists of Sanskrit manuscripts in private libraries of Southern India(two volumes, printed by E. Keys at the Government Press, Madras, 1880-1885). He published Die Gottheiten der Indier (Gods of Indians) after he returned to Berlin in 1905. His Contributions to the history of Southern India (Publisher? 1882) was an epigraphical study. Oppert edited the philosophical works Nitiprakasika (1882), Sukranitisara (1882),Sutrapata of the Sabdanusasana of Sakatayana (1893), followed by an edition ofSakatayana’s grammar with the commentary of Abayacandrasuri (1893). While in Madras, he edited and published Yadavaprakasa’s lexicon Vaijayanti and the Telugu poetry of 16th Century Rama Rajiyamu (Narapati Vijayamu) in 1893.

Oppert wrote several professional-journal articles on the anthropology of southern India, too many to list here. Similar to many anthropologists of his day, Oppert endorsed cultural evolution as the dominant explanatory paradigm, after studying southern Indian linguistic prehistory with reference to the Todas and Kotas of the Nilgiris 1. Ramachandra Dikshitar in the Madras Tercentenary Commemoration Volume (1939) refers in positive terms to Oppert’s contributions in organising the Oriental Manuscripts Library and for curating it, while he was at Presidency College.

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