REHATSEK, Edward (Ede). Illack (now Ilok in Croatia) 3.7.1819 — Bombay 11.12.1891. Hungarian Oriental Scholar in India. Son of the forest inspector of princess Odescalchi, educated in Budapest and graduated as civil engineer from Budapest University. Leaving Hungary in 1842 he spent four months in Paris and four years in the U.S.A. In 1847 travelled from New Orleans via Liverpool and Cape to India arriving at Bombay in December and entered the public works department. He was a good mathematician and Latin scholar and now soon also interested in Oriental studies. He became Professor of Mathematics and Latin at Wilson College and taught there until 1871. Privately he also taught Persian, Arabic and French. In 1869-81 Examiner of Bombay University in Latin, Persian and Arabic, from 1873 also Fellow of the university. 1874 honorary member of R.A.S., Bombay Branch.
Rehatsek was an unmarried ascetic who lived a life of recluse without servants. He was teetotaller and vegetarian, though accepted coffee. His only hobby were walking tours, later he used a tricycle. His notes were written in a minimal handwriting. He died in inflammation of the bladder, a day before he still wrote a newspaper article in bed. His corpse was cremated in Hindu style according to his will and his substantial savings were used for the education of poor children. His books went to the Native General Library.
He was mainly a scolar of Arabic and Persian, but also interested in Indian history and epigraphy. He knew Bhau Daji and accompanied him in epigraphical field tours. His translation of Pietro Della Valle’s letters from India apparently remained unpublished.
Publications: A great number of articles mainly on Arabic and Persian: 26 pieces in the JBRAS 1874-82, 21 in the Calcutta Review 1879-91, 17 articles and around 30 notes in the IA 1872-86, and elsewhere. Indology was concerned e.g. in:
– “Early Moslem accounts of the Hindu religions”, JBRAS 14, 1880, 29-70; “The History of the Wahhábys in Arabia and India”, JBRAS 14, 1880, 274-401; “Emporia, chiefly ports of Arab and Indian international commerce before the Christian era”, JBRAS 15, 1882, 109-149.
– “The Holy Inquisition at Goa”, CR 72, 1881, 311-353; “Historical sketch of Portuguese India”, CR 73, 1881, 321-362; “How the Portuguese obtained a footing in the island of Diu”, CR 74, 1882, 71-113; “Mandelslo and Thevenot, their Travels in India”, CR 75, 1882, 1-39; “The monastic and secular clergy of Portuguese India”, CR 75, 1882, 317-343; “Contacts of China with foreign nations”, CR 79, 1884, 273-292; “Missionaries at the Moghul courts”, CR 82, 1885, 1-26; “The beginnings of Dutch commerce in India”, CR 91-92, 1890, 81-106.
– “Three inscriptions from Raichor”, IA 11, 1882, 129f.; “A letter of the Emperor Akbar asking for the Christian Scriptures”, IA 16, 1887, 135-139; “A notice of the Zafarnama-i-Ranjit Singh”, IA 17, 1888, 18-23, 54-60, 81-88, 98-100; “A note of the Gulābnāma, or Biography of Gulāb Singh, Maharājah of Kashmir, A.D. 1875, by Kirpārām”, IA 19, 1890, 289-303 & 20, 1891, ??-??.
– Catalogue raisonné of Arabic, Hindustanee, Persian, and Turkish Manuscripts in the Mulla Firuz Library. 4+279 p. Bombay 1873.
– Bombay 115 years ago. 1-5. 18??.
– A number of translations from Persian and Arabic, i.al. Rauzat-ussafa. History of the World by Mirkhond. 1-5. L. 1891-94; Behāristān of Jāmi. 6+183 p. Benares 1887; Gulistān of Sa‘di. 1888; “The Book of the King’s Son and the Ascetic, tr. from the Arabic”, JRAS 1890.
Sources: F.F. Arbuthnot, JRAS 1892, 581-595; Buckland, Dictionary; Wikipedia
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