FÜHRER, Alois Anton

FÜHRER, Alois Anton. Limburg an der Lahn 26.11.1853 — Binningen 5.11.1930. German Indologist and Archaeologist in India. Studies of Catholic Theology and Oriental lan­guages at Würzburg. Ordained priest 1877. Ph.D. 1879 Würzburg (apparently under Jolly), soon to India. After a while as Professor of Sanskrit at St. Xavier College in Bombay in 1881-84, he worked as Curator of Provincial Museum in Lakhnau until 1885 (but Wikipedia claims that he came to India 1885 and was then nominated Curator and Ind.Dig. gives the years 1884-99 for his curatorship). From 1885 also Assistant to Archaeological Surveyor of NW Provinces of India (now Uttar Pradesh), Major J. B. Keith, soon his successor. Carried on important excavations at Kankālī Tilā, but then published in his own name results reached by others (the birth-place of the Buddha) and in the end was dismissed. After a quarrel with bishops moved from Catholic to Anglican church in 1887. For a while he planned to go to Burma – according to some in order to become a Buddhist monk – but then returned to Europe about 1900 and settled in Switzerland. In 1901 joined the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland. He is said to have been the Professor of Indian languages at Basel University, but it seems that he only applied for this post and was rejected. Instead he worked from 1906 as pastor in Binningen near Basel.

There is very little information of this rather notorious scholar and it is possible that the date of death given him in the JASB in fact belongs to the German classical scholar and schoolteacher Anton Führer (1854–1929). But Ind.Dig. and Wikipedia give exact dates for his birth and death. Our AAF was living around 1910, but then nothing is heard of him. The list of members of A.S.B. calls him Professor at Basel University in 1917-30 – perhaps he himself claimed so.

Publications: diss. Darstellung der Lehre von den Schriften in Bṛhaspatis Dharma­çâstra. Ein Beitrag zum Schriftwesen im alten Indien. 30 p. Lp. 1879.

edited: Aphorisms of the sacred law of the Aryas, as taught in the School of Vasishṭha. B.S.S. 23. Bombay 1883.

– “Bâṇabhaṭṭa’s Biography of Śrî-Harshavardhana of Sthâneśvara”, OC 6, Leiden 1883, 3:2, 1885, 199-243; “Sanskrit-Räthsel, mitgetheilt und gelöst”, ZDMG 39, 1885, 99-102.

The Sharqî Architecture of Jaunpur. 76 p. 73 pl. A.S.I. New Imp. Series 11. Calcutta 1889; The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. Ibid. 12. C. 1891; List of Christian Tombs and Monuments of Archaeological or Historical Interest and their Inscriptions in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. Allahabad 1896.

Classified List of the Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, and Hindi Manuscripts in the Reference Library of the Provincial Museum, Lucknow. 1892.

Monograph on Buddha Sâkyamuni’s birth-place in the Nepalese Tarai. A.S.I. New Imp. Series 26. 1897 (cancelled because of serious faults!).

edited: Bāṇa: Harṣacarita, with Śankara’s Commentary. B.S.S. 1909.

epigraphical articles (Ep.Ind. and JASB), archaeological reports; e.g.: “Pabhosâ inscriptions”, EI 2, 1894, 240-244, also ib. 363-365.

Im Lande der Kasten. 95 p. 1908; Christus in Indien. 85 p. 1908; Buddhismus und christliche Mission. 40 p. 1909.

Sources: no proper account found! Works in Ges.Vz., Br.L.Cat. and N.U.C.; D.M.G. member lists 1882, 1901, no more in 1916. Death noted in JASB 29, 1931. Personal communication in a letter from P. Wyzlic, 6.9.1996. *H. Falk, “Zur Geschichte von Lumbinī”, AO 52, 1991, 70-90. British colleague: *A. Huxley,“Dr Führer’s Wanderjahre: The Early Career of a Victorian Archaeologist”, JRAS 20, 2010, 489-502; *Ch. Allen, The Buddha and Dr. Führer: an archaeological scandal. L. 2008 (apparently no biographical material); German Wikipedia with photo; Indolologica Digitalisate with another photo.


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