Burnell, Arthur Coke
BURNELL, ARTHUR COKE (1840-1882), English Sanskrit scholar, was born at St Briavels, Gloucestershire, in 1840. His father was an official of the East India Company, and in 1860 he himself went out to Madras as a member of the Indian civil service. Here he utilized every available opportunity to acquire or copy Sanskrit manuscripts. In 1870 he presented his collection of 350 MSS. to the India library. In 1874 he published a Handbook of South Indian Palaeography, characterized by Max Müller as "indispensable to every student of Indian literature," and in 1880 issued for the Madras government his greatest work, the Classified Index to the Sanskrit MSS. in the Palace at Tanjore. He was also the author of a large number of translations from, and commentaries on, various other Sanskrit manuscripts, being particularly successful in grouping and elucidating the essential principles of Hindu law. In addition to his exhaustive acquaintance with Sanskrit, and the southern India vernaculars, he had some knowledge of Tibetan, Arabic, Kawi, Javanese and Coptic. Burnell originated with Sir Henry Yule the well-known dictionary of Anglo-Indian words and phrases, Hobson-Jobson. His constitution, never strong, broke down prematurely through the combined influence of overwork and the Madras climate, and he died at West Stratton, Hampshire, on the 12th of October 1882. A further collection of Sanskrit manuscripts was purchased from his heirs by the India library after his death.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)