LYALL, Charles James. London 9.3.1845 — London 1.9.1920. Sir. British Civil Servant and Oriental (Arabic and Urdu) Scholar. Son of Charles L., a banker, and Harriet Matheson. Educated at King’s College School and College, studies at Balliol College, Oxford (B.A. 1867). Joined the Bengal Civil Service in 1867 and served in the N.W.P. In 1872 Assistant Under-Secretary in Revenue, Agriculture and Commerce Department, in 1873-80 Under-Secretary ibid., 1880-83 Secretary to Chief Commissioner of Assam, 1883-84 Judge and Commissioner in Assam. After a while as Secretary to Government in Revenue, Agriculture and Commerce Department he served again in Assam in 1887-89. In 1889-94 Secretary to Government in Home Department, in 1895-98 Commissioner in Central Provinces, then returned to London. From 1898 Secretary at India Office in Judicial and Public Department, retired in 1910. C.I.E. 1880, K.C.S.I. 1897. Hon. LL.D. Edinburgh, Ph.D. Strassburg, D.Litt. Oxford. Married 1870 Florence Lyall, five daughters and two sons. In spite of his many public duties he was a noted scholar.
Publications: A Sketch of the Hindustani Language. 4+55 p. Edinburgh 1880 (written for the Enc. Br.); articles in the Enc. Brit., 9th and 11th editions.
– Guide to the transliteration of Hindu and Muhammadan names in the Bengal Army. 79 p. Calcutta 1886 and new edd.; Translations of Ancient Arabic , chiefly Pre-Islamic Poetry. 1-2. L. 1885-94; Ten Arabic Poems. 1894; edited two ancient Arabic Diwans, with transl. 1913.
– A grammar and specimens of the Mikir language. 19 p. Bombay 1903; The Mikirs. 17+183 p. L. 1908; Mikir-English Vocabulary. 81 p. n.d., anonymously published.
Sources: *A.A.B., JRAS 1920, 667-669; Who Was Who 1916–1928; Buckland, Dictionary; Fück 1955, 279f.; *R. A. Nicholson, Proc. Br. Acad. 9, 1919-20; *M. Sprengling, Am. Jnl of Sem. Lang. 39, 1923, 207-217, 492-496; works in the N.U.C.; Wikipedia.
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