FORSTER, Henry Pitts

FORSTER, Henry Pitts. 1766? (or 1761) — Calcutta (?) 10.9.1815. British Civil Servant in India and a Pioneer of Indology. Possibly studied at Oxford. In 1783 joined the Bengal Civil Service, from 1793 Collector of Tipperah, from 1794 Registrar of the Sadr Diwani Adalat of 24 Parganas. From 1803 in Calcutta Mint, finally its director. Died in India. He had children with an Indian lady (a Jat).

Forster criticized the use of Persian as official language and was one of the first pioneers of Bengali studies. He prepared the first Bengali dictionary and did much to improve the status of Bengali in British India. His Sanskrit grammar was founded on Vopadeva. It was concluded in 1804, before other English grammars appeared in print.

Publications: Vocabulary, English–Bengalee and Bengalee–English. 1-2. Calcutta 1799-1802.

An Essay on the Principles of Sanskrit Grammar. 1. 22+691 p. Calcutta 1810.

Probably by him (nom-de-plume Agricola): General observations on the mode of assessing and levying the land tax in Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa. In a series of letters. 31+294 p. Calcutta 1791.

Sources: C.B[endall], D.N.B. 20, 1889, 14f.; Buckland, Dictionary; Wikipedia.

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