FORBES, Alexander Kinloch

FORBES, Alexander Kinloch. London 7.7.1821 — Poona (Pune) 31.8.1865. British (Scottish) Civil Servant in India and Pioneer of Gujarātī Studies. Son of John Forbes-Mitchell (1781–1822) and Anna Powell. Educated in Finchley (London) and Haileybury. Arrived at Bombay in 1843 and became Assistant Judge in Ahmedabad, then in Surat, later Commissioner there and Political Agent in Mahī Kāntā. In 1854-56 on furlough, then again in Surat. From 1862 Judge of the new Bombay High Court, also Vice-Chancellor of Bombay University. Married 1846 Margaret Moir Mitchell (d. 1904), four sons, two daughters.

Forbes knew well Gujarātī and had important role in the Gujarātī literary renaissance. In 1848 he founded the Gujarat Vernacular Society in Ahmedabad and in 1865 the Gujarātī Sabhā in Bombay. Another important interest were archaeology, ancient monuments and manuscripts

Publications: Bhut niband: an essay, descriptive of the demonology and other popular superstitions of Guzerat, being the prize essay of the Guzerat Vernacular Society for the year 1849. 15+95 p. Bombay n.d. (1849?) (transl. from Dalpatrām’s Gujarātī).

– “The Ratna Málá”, JBRAS 9:25, 1867-70 (1872), 20-100 (translated from the Gujarātī of Sāmaḷ).

Râs Mâlâ. Hindu annals of western India with particular reference to Gujarat. 1856, 2nd ed. 715 p. L. 1878; new ed. by H. G. Rawlinson, Rāsmālā. Hindoo Annals of the Province of Goozerat in Western India. 1-2. 23+444+7+459 p. Oxford 1924.

Sources: JRAS N.S. 2, 1866, Proc. iif.; not in Br. Biogr. Arch. 2nd Series; Wikipedia with portrait.

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