FUCHS, Stephen

FUCHS, Stephen. Bruck an der Mur 30.4.1908 — St.Gabriel, Mödling 17.1.2000. S.V.D. Austrian Missionary and Anthropologist in India. Grew up in Graz, in 1922-27 student at S.V.D.’s mission high school in St. Rupert’s in Bischofshofen. Joined the Society of Divine Word in 1927 and studied theology at St.Augustine near Bonn and St.Gabriel in Mödling, also linguistics under Wilhelm Schmidt. Ordained as Roman Catholic priest in 1934 he went immediately to India, to work as missionary among the Harijans and tribals of Central India. Soon he became interested in traditional beliefs and started a study of the Balahi, an dalit weaver caste in the Nimar district of Madhya Pradesh. Soon he extended his studies to tribals of eastern Madhya Pradesh: the Korkus, Gonds and Baigas. Interned during the WW II, he returned 1948 to Austria and studied Anthropology and Sanskrit at Vienna University. Ph.D. 1950 Vienna. Back in India in 1950, he taught four years cultural anthropology at St.Xavier’s College in Bombay, then physical and cultural anthropology at various Catholic institutions in India. Fieldwork among Bhumias, Bhils, Bhilalas, Balahis, Gonds, Korkus, and sweeper castes, also Chamars of Varanasi and Ballia districts In 1961-62 Visiting Professor of Anthropology and Indian Philosophy at San Carlos University in Cebu City, Philippines. From 1967 Director of Institute of Indian Culture in Bombay, founded by himself. Only in 1996 moved back to Austria because of health problems.

As Schmidt’s student he always understand the importance of thorough linguistic competence in fieldwork and learned several tribal languages. He was mainly an anthropologist, but had ancient Indian history as an additional interest.

Publications: Diss. Das Schweineopfer der Baiga in seinen kulturhistorischen Beziehungen. Manuscript, Vienna 1950.

The Children of Hari. A study of the Nimar Balahis in the Central Provences of India. 463 p. Wiener Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte und Linguistik Band 8. Wien 1950.

– Social Origins. 147 p. Bombay 1957.

The Gond of Bhumia of Eastern Mandla. 11+584 p. N.Y. 1960; Tales of Gondavana. 16+120 p. Bombay 1960 (Gond myths retold).

– Rebellious Prophets. A Study of Messianic Movements in Indian Religions. 14+304 p. Publ. of Indian Branch of Anthropos Inst. 1. Bombay 1965.

The Aboriginal Tribes of India. 8+308 p. Delhi – Madras – Bombay 1974.

At the Bottom of Indian Society: The Harijan and Other Low Castes. 8+325 p. Delhi 1981.

The Korkus of the Vindhya Hills. 443 p. 17 pl. Tribal Studies of India Series T 124. N. D. 1988; Das Leben ist ein Tanz: Lieder der indischen Ureinwohner. Ausgewählt, aus den Stammessprachen übersetzt und eingeleitet. 205 p. Zürich 1990.

Godmen on the warpath: a study of messianic movements in India. 14+334 p. New Delhi 1992.

The Vedic horse sacrifice: in its culture-historical relations. 248 p. New Delhi 1996.

Several further books and a number of articles, e.g. “Changes and Developments in the Population of the Nimar District in the Central Provinces of India”, Anthropos 41-44, 1946-49, 49-68; “Messianic movements in Tribal India”, JAnthropSocBombay N.S. 12:1, 1966, 15-33; “A Royal ‘Saviour’ of the Bastar Tribals”, JAnthropSocBombay N.S. 14:1, 1969, 36-50; many reviews in Anthropos.

Sources: Cover of his Korku book 1988; *Mahipal Bhuriya (ed.): Anthropology as a historical science: essays in honour of Stephen Fuchs. Indore: Sat Prakashan Sanchar Kendra 1984; *Josef Salmen, Anthropos 95:2, 2000, 537-541; *S. M. Michael SVD, Asian Folklore Studies Nagoya 59:1, 2000, 141-145; J. Salmen & E. Brandewie, Anthropos 95, 2000, 537-542 with photo; Wikipedia with photo and bibliography.

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