FÜHRER, Alois Anton. Limburg an der Lahn 26.11.1853 — Binningen near Basel 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 was accused of presenting inscriptions whish did not exist. In the end he was dismissed in 1898. 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 he 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 both Ind.Dig. and Wikipedia give exact dates for his birth and death. Our A.A.F. 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: Nachwort and indices in A. Fick, Vergleichende Wörterbuch der indogermanischen Sprachen. Vol. 4, 3rd. ed. Göttingen 1879.
– 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 Âryas, as taught in the School of Vasishṭha. 100 p. 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; with notes on Zafarabad, Sahet-Mahet and other places in the northwest provinces and Oudh. 76 p. 73 pl. A.S.I. New Imp. Series 11. Calcutta 1889 (with drawings and architectural descriptions by Ed. W. Smith).
– The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. 425 p. A.S.I. New Imp. Series 12. C. 1891; List of Christian Tombs and Monuments of Archaeological or Historical Interest and their Inscriptions in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. 8+188 p. Allahabad 1896.
– “Classified List of the Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, and Hindi Manuscripts in the Reference Library of the Provincial Museum, Lucknow”, Appendix 3 to G. D. Ganguli’s Catalogue of the Reference Library of the Provincial Museum, N.-W.P. and Oudh. Allahabad 1892.
– Monograph on Buddha Sâkyamuni’s birth-place in the Nepalese Tarai. A.S.I. New Imp. Series 26. 6+48 p. Allahabad 1897 (cancelled because of serious faults!).
– Edited: Bāṇa: Harṣacarita, with Śankara’s Commentary. 4+342 p. B.S.S. 1909.
– Epigraphical articles (Ep. Ind. and JASB), archaeological reports; e.g.: “Pabhosâ inscriptions”, EI 2, 1894, 240-244, also ibid. 363-365.
– Im Lande der Kasten. 95 p. 1908; Christus in Indien. 85 p. 1908; Buddhismus und christliche Mission. 40 p. 1909.
Sources: Works in Ges.Vz., Br.L.Cat. and N.U.C.; D.M.G. member lists 1882, 1901, no longer in 1916, death noted in JASB 29, 1931; personal communication in a letter from P. Wyzlic, 6.9.1996; e-mail from R. Wachter 26.10.2004. *Ch. Allen, The Buddha and Dr. Führer: an archaeological scandal. L. 2008 (apparently no biographical material); *H. Falk, “Zur Geschichte von Lumbinī”, AO 52, 1991, 70-90; *A. Huxley,“Dr Führer’s Wanderjahre: The Early Career of a Victorian Archaeologist”, JRAS 20, 2010, 489-502; T.A. Phelps, “Lumbini On Trial: The Untold Story in www.lumkap.org.uk; Wikipedia with photo; Indolologica Digitalisate with another photo.
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