PETERSON, Peter. Edinburgh 12.1.1847 — Bombay 28.10.1899. British (Scots) Indologist in India. Professor in Bombay. Son of John Peterson, a native of Shetland Islands, therefore also PP often described himself as Shetlander. Educated in Edinburgh, then studies of Indology, etc., at Edinburgh (Aufrecht) and, after a brief period in Berlin, at Oxford (Lincoln and Balliol Colleges; Monier Williams and Max Müller). In 1873 he came to India and joined Bombay Educational Department as Professor of Sanskrit at Elphinstone College, taught there Sanskrit and from 1882 English, until his death. Also Registrar of the College. D.Sc. 1883 Edinburgh. Married with Agnes Christall (d. 1900), several children.
PP was a manuscript scholar who is remembered for the rich harvest of his MSS. searches and for his good editions (their introductions have been specially praised). In a Jaina library he found the manuscript of the Nyāyabinduṭīkā. He appreciated Indian poetry and considered that even with all estranging differences it represented the same poetic sense as European. Together with R. G. Bhandarkar editor of the Bombay Sanskrit Series.
Publications: six reports on the Search for Sanskrit MSS. in the Bombay Circle, 1882-1899, in JBRAS 1883, 1884, 1887, 1894, and separately 1896 & 1899.
– “On the Subhâshitâvali of Vallabhadeva” OC 6 Leiden 1883, 3:2, 1885, 339-465.
– edited: Kādambarī. B.S.S. 24. Bombay 1885-89; Hitopadeśa. B.S.S. 33. Bombay 1887; Śārṅgadhara: Paddhati. 1. B.S.S. 37. Bombay 1888; Nyāyabinduṭīkā. B.I. 128. Calcutta 1889; Daśakumāracarita. 2. B.S.S. 42. Bombay 1891 (1. by Bühler); Rājataraṅginī. 3. B.S.S. 54. Bombay 1896 (1-2. by Durgaprasad); Upamitibhava-prapañca-kathā. B.I. 1140. Calcutta 1899 (fasc. 1-3, completed by H. Jacobi, 1906).
– Hymns from the Rigveda. B.S.S. 36. 1888 (with translations); Handbook to the study of the Rigveda. 1-2. B.S.S. 41, 43. Bombay 1890-92; A Second selection of hymns from the Rig Veda. B.S.S. 58. Bombay 1899.
– “Pāṇini, Poet and Grammarian, with some Remarks on the Age of Sanskrit Classical Poetry”, JRAS 1891, 311-336 (with text & tr. of the 18 poems ascribed to P.).
– Catalogue of the Sanskrit MSS. in the Library of HH the Maharaja of Ulwar. 1892.
– “Vātsyāyana on duties of a Hindu Wife”, J. of the Anthrop. Soc. of Bombay 1892, 459-466; “Courtship in Ancient India”, JBRAS 18, 1894, 109-121; Buddhacarita, Canto 1 ed. & tr., JBRAS 18, 1894, 282-315.
– articles in JBRAS etc.
– edited the Merchant of Venice and Palgrave’s Golden treasury, wrote for the Times of India and other newspapers.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; C. Bendall, D.N.B. Suppl. 1901, 261; Rapson, JRAS 1899, 917-919.