BAILEY, Harold Walter. Devizes, Wiltshire 16.12.1899 — 11.1.1996. Sir (1960). British Indo-Iranian Scholar, Famous Specialist of the Khotan Saka. Professor in Cambridge. Son of Frederic Charles Quinton B. (1869–1952) and Emma Jane Reichardt (1871–1962). Born in England, he moved with his parents in 1910 to start a farm in Western Australia. Studied classical philology at University of Western Australia in Perth (B.A. 1924, M.A. 1927), in 1926-27 also Tutor in Latin there. With a scholarship studied from 1927 Sanskrit and Avesta under F. W. Thomas at Oxford (B.A. 1929, M.A.), also Armenian. In 1933 D.Phil. dissertation on the Bundahešn. In 1929-36 Parsee Community Lecturer in Iranian Studies at S.O.A.S., University of London. From 1936 Professor of Sanskrit at Cambridge (Rapson’s successor). During the war worked 3 years in Foreign Research and Press Service, mainly reading Armenian and Albanian newspapers. In 1967 emeritus. From 1944 Fellow of the British Academy. Knighted 1960. Hon.dr. of University of Western Australia 1963, A.N.U., Oxford, and Manchester. He lived to an advanced age and lost much of his eye-sight, but with some technical help he continued working until his last year.
HWB is known as the great scholar of Khotanese Saka, but his wide interests also included Avesta and Pahlavi, Ossetic, Armenian, Caucasian, Gandhārī, Gypsy, and Tocharian. At Cambridge he taught Vedic, Sanskrit, Pāli and Prākrit. He started collecting the Khotan Saka Dictionary from 1934, also freely giving his ms. notes open to his students, until the monumental work was published in 1979. After Khotanese Texts VII he no longer worked on Saka, but on Pahlavi and Caucasian. The Bundahešn edition he prepared remained incomplete.
In Australia, he started his career with a M.A. thesis on religion in the dramas of Euripides. He was a bachelor concentrating most of his time to scholarship. He left chess, because it interrupted research, but continued playing violin. He was a teetotaler and almost vegetarian. In 1978 he founded with others the Ancient India and Iran Trust in Cambridge, in 1981 moved to its house and left his enormous personal library to it. He travelled in Iran in 1932, then only two short visits in 1968 and 1975. He travelled much in Europe and paid several visits to Australia, visiting on way Sri Lanka and India and once Japan. Among his many students were Brough, Emmerick, Gershevitch, Dresden, K. R. Norman, and Zaehner.
Publications: diss. The Iranian recension of the Pahlavi Bundahesh: a philological and critical treatment of the text with transl. MS. Oxford 1933.
– a great number of articles on Khotanese Saka, on Iranian, occasionally also on Sanskrit, in BSOAS and other journals, in Festschrifts etc., since 1930, e.g. “Ttaugara”, BSOS 8:4, 1937, 883-921; “Recent work with Tocharian”, TrPhilSoc 1947, 126-153; “The Staël-Holstein Miscellany”, AM N.S. 2, 1951, 1-45 (Khot.).
– The Content of Indian and Iranian Studies. Inaugural Lecture. Cambridge 1938.
– Zoroastrian Problems in the Ninth Century Books. 235 p. Oxf. 1943, 2nd ed. 1971.
– Codices Khotanenses. Copenh. 1938; “The Khotan Dharmapada”, BSOAS 11, 1945, 488-512 (ed.); Indo-Scythian Studies being Khotanese Texts. I–III. 257+134+140 p. Cambr. 1945, 1954, 1956; I–III. 2nd ed. 1969; IV–V. 192+?? p. Cambr. 1961, 1963; VI. (Prolexis to the Book of Zambasta) 463 p. Cambr. 1967; VII. Cambr. 1985; Khotanese Buddhist texts. 157 p. L. 1951, 2nd rev. ed. 1981; Saddharma-puṇḍarīka-sūtra: the Summary in Khotanese Saka. 47 p. Canberra 1971 (ed.).
– Saka Documents. 96 pl. Corpus Inscr. Iranicarum, Portfolios i–iv. L. 1960-67; Text vol. 129 p. L. 1968.
– Dictionary of Khotanese Saka. 559 p. Cambr. 1979.
– The Culture of the Sakas in ancient Iranian Khotan. 121 p. Columbia Lectures on Iranian Studies 1. Delmar 1982.
Sources: *M. Bénisti & M. Strickmann, Buddhist Studies Review 13, 1996, 76-78; *A.D.H. Bivar, JRAS 6, 1996, 407-410; R.E. Emmerick, Pr.Br.Acad. 1998, 309-349 (with photo, additional bibliography and further biographical sources); *I. Gershevitch, VDI 1990:4, 208-216; *G. Gnoli, E&W 46, 1996, 491-493; *N. Sims-Williams & G. Hewitt, BSOAS 60, 1997, 109-116 with photo; Who’s Who 1983; short note in IIJ 2, 1958, 164; Bibliography by R.E. Emmerick & D.M. Johnson, BSOAS 33:1 (= H.W. Bailey Fs.), 1970, ix-xiv, with photo; Bio-bibliogr. de 136 savants. 1979, 33-35; Wikipedia. Personal meeting in July 1995.