Asiatic Society

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The Asiatic Society was founded by Sir William Jones on 15th January, 1784 to carry our Oriental research.

The senior members of the East India Company based out of Calcutta then, met on 15th January 1784 at the Grand Jury Room of the Supreme Court of Calcutta. They were Warren Hastings, Governor General, Jonathan Duncan, who later became the Governor of Bombay, Charles Chapman, Hasting’s emissary to Vietnam, Justice John Hyde Cunningham Charles Wilkins and William Jones, judge of the Calcutta Court.

William Jones in his inaugural speech of the Society had said,

“Asia is the nurse of sciences, and the inventors of delightful and useful arts. Our investigations will be bound by only the geographical limits of Asia, encompassing Man and Nature; whatever is performed by the one, or produced by the other.”

He ended his address by proclaiming that the organization shall be called “The Asiatic Society”.

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Asiatic Society of India

In 1837, James Prinsep took charge of the society. He is credited with deciphering the Brahmi script

In 1789, Sir William Jones made this famous speech at the Asiatic Society,

“The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is a wonderful structure more perfect than the Greeks; more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.”

The Asiatic Society later got its permanent residence at 1, Palk Street, Calcutta. In the last 200 years and more, the Asiatic Society has done yeomen service not only in translating the Indian language works into English but also in furthering the priceless heritage of India to Indians and foreigners.

For this effort, William Jones has been respectfully referred to as “The Orientalist.”

William Jones also wrote books on, The laws of Hindoos and Mahomedans, the history of the ancient world, proofs and illustrations of the scriptures, traditions concerning the deluge, modern politics and geography of Hindustan, Arithmetic and Geometry and mixed sciences of Asiatics, Medicine, Chemistry, Surgery and Anatomy of the Indians, natural products of India, poetry, rhetoric and morality of Asia, music of the Eastern nations, the best accounts of Tibet and Kashmir, trade, manufacturer, agriculture, and commerce of India.

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