HERAS, Henry

HERAS, Henry (born Enrique/Enric Heras de Sicars). Barcelona 11.9.1888 — Bombay 14.12.1955. S. J. Spanish Historian in India. Professor in Bombay. Son of Maria Sicars and Pontio (Ponç) Heras, of a very old and well-to-do Catalonian family. Studies of Catholic theology in Barcelona, at College of Sacred Heart, until 1904, when novice of S.J. After further studies in Tortosa and Barcelona and teaching ordained priest 1920 in Orihuela. After a visit to the U.S.A. taught in 1921-22 at Jesuite College in Zaragoza. In 1922 to India, from 1923 Professor at St. Xavier College, where he taught history until his death. The College had been founded by German Jesuits in 1869 and moved because of the WW I under the authority of the Aragonian Province. Heras was thus the successor of —> A. Väth, and himself succeeded by J. Correia-Afonso. In India he changed his first name from Enrique to Henry. He died in cancer.

Heras was an active and productive scholar, who had original, sometimes even too original, ideas and many students. He started his career with Mughal history and Jesuit sources, but soon became also interested in ancient times. He was eager proponent of the (now rejected) Indo-Mediterranean hypothesis and without success attempted at deciphering the Indus script. In 1926 he founded the Indian Historical Research Institute in connection of St. Xavier College, both affiliated to Bombay University. It was the first historical research institute in Maharashtra. Among his students were H. D. Sankalia, B. A. Saletore, J. Correia-Afonso, F. Moraes and R. N. Saletore.

Publications: Joaquín de Dalmases y Villavecchia: de la compañía de Jesús, 1893-1915, notas y documentos biográficos. 266 p. Barcelona 1916.

The Writing of History. 131 p. Madras 1926.

The Aravidu Dynasty of Vijayanagar. 722 p. Madras 1927; Beginnings of Vijayanagara History. 8+144 p. Bombay 1929.

Pallava Genealogy. 27 p. Bombay 1931.

Studies in Pallava History. 115 p. Madras 1933.

The conversion policy of the Jesuits in India. 79 p. Bombay 1933.

– “La Escritura proto-índica y su desciframiento”, Ampurias 1, 1939, 5-81.

Studies in Proto-Indo-Mediterranean Culture. 1. 109+542 p. Bombay 1953.

The Story of the Magi: the first Indians at the feet of Our Lady. 9+72 p. Bombay 1954.

Numerous articles in JIH, QJMS, JRAS, JBoHistSoc, JBRAS, IHQ, JBORS, IA, etc.

Sources: J. Correia-Afonso, Dict. of Nat. Biogr. Suppl. 2, 1990, 131-133; *J. Correia-Afonso (ed), H.H., the Scholar and his Work. Bombay 1976; H. D. Sankalia, introduction to Indica. Indian Hist. Res. Institute Jub. Vol. 1953, with photo; Schurhammer, “Das Forschungsinstitut für indische Geschichte am Franz-Xaver-Kolleg zu Bombay”, AM 7, 1931, 271-290; brief note in JAOS 79, 1959, 213; *bibliography in Indica 1, 1964, 67-79; *TC 5, 1956, 99-102; Wikipedia; different photo in AION 53, 1993, pl. opposite to p. 193.

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