DOW, Alexander. Crieff, Perthshire 1735/36 — Bhagalpur 31.7.1779. British (Scottish) Colonial Officer, Historian and Persian Scholar in India. Son of a customs officer. He had mercantile education, but had to leave Scotland after a fatal duel. He came to Bencoolen (Sumatra) as a sailor and entered in 1760 the E.I.C.’s military service. Captain 1764, lieutenant-colonel 1769. Also known as a dramatist author, his plays were staged in London when he was on leave there in 1768 and 1774. His Firišta contains only part of the original, the rest was translated by J. Scott in 1794.
Publications: Translated from Persian: Tales Translated from the Persian of Inatulla of Delhi. 1-2. L. 1768; The History of Hindostan [Firišta]. L. 1768-72 (1, p. xxi-lxxvi is “A dissertation concerning the customs, manners, language, religion and philosophy of the Hindoos”, with a catalogue of Hindu gods, 2 contains dissertations “On the Origin and Nature of Despotism in Hindostan” and “An Enquiry into the State of Bengal”), new ed. 1-3. 29+180+313, 18+509, 19+466 p. L. 1803, French transl. 1772 (the diss. separately in 1769) , German 1772-74.
– Plays: Zingis. 1769; Sethona. L. 1774.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; *Charu Sheel Singh, “Holwell, Dow and Halhed: a note on their contribution to Indology in the 18th century”, JOIB 33:3-4, 1984, 291-297; *W.G.J. Kuiters, Oxford D.N.B.; H.M. Stephens, D.N.B. 15, 1888; Windisch 12; Wikipedia with portrait (also French version).
Last Updated on