GENTIL, Jean Baptiste Joseph

GENTIL, Jean Baptiste Joseph. Bagnols (Rhône) 25.6.1726 — Bagnols (Rhône) 15.2.1799. French Officer in India. Born in a noble family, joined the army and went out to India in 1752 as officer in an infantry regiment. “Served with distinction under Dupleix, Law of Lauriston, Lally, etc. After the collapse of the French power in India and the surrender of Pondicherry to the English, Gentil served for a time under Mir Kasim, Nawab of Bengal, then under Shuja-ud-daula, Nawab of Oudh, who loaded him with honours. [He] was most generous in helping less fortunate fellow countrymen, and enrolled a body of them to serve under the Nawab. After the defeat of the Nawab at Baxar, Gentil helped to negotiate peace between him and the English. After Shuja-ud-daula’s death in 1775, Gentil was compelled by the English to leave, and in 1778 returned to France. Appointed Colonel of Infantry, was already Chevalier of St. Louis, 1771. Died in poverty, having lost his pension at the Revolution.” In Avadh achieved a large collection of objects of natural history, weapons, medals and manuscripts. His Persian manuscripts are in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Publications: Memoires sur l’Indoustan, ou Empire Mogol. 474 p. P. 1822 (mainly from the Firišta).

Manuscripts: Histoire métallique de l’Inde; Histoire des Radjahs de l’Hindoustan depuis Barth jusqu’à Petaurah; Abrégé géographique de l’Inde (with maps).

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; B.U. 8, 1843-44, 198f.; *S. Gole, Maps of Mughal India: Drawn by Colonel J-B-J G, agent for the French Government to the Court of Shuja-ud-daula at Faizabad. N.D. 1998; Wikipedia with portrait.

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