WILKINSON, Lancelot. Crosby-Ravensworth, Cumbria 22.6.1805 — Sehore near Bhopal 13.11.1841. British Scholar of Astronomy in India. Son of James W. and Nanny Eggleston. Came to India as a writer around 1822 and joined Bombay C.S. From 1824 Assistant to Collector of Southern Konkan, from 1826 Assistant Resident in Nagpore and from 1836 until his death Political Agent in Bhopal. Little before his early death he declined the important position as Political Agent in Lucknow.
Wilkinson knew Sanskrit and with his jyotiṣī friends wanted to introduce Indians to science by teaching Siddhānta and publishing its texts (which appeared only posthumously). He was particularly fond of Bhāskara. He opposed to the policy of English education in India, wrote against female infanticide and supported widow remarriage.
Publications: “On the Use of the Siddhantas in the Work of Native Education”, JASB 3, 1834, 504-519; “Discovery of the Rekhaganita, a Translation of the Elements of Euclid into Sanskrit by Samrat Jagannatha, under the Orders of Raja Siwai Jaya Sinha of Jaipur”, JASB 6, 1837, 938-948.
– Edited: [Aśvaghoṣa], Wujra Soochi, with a Preface by L.W. together with an English tr. by B. H. Hodgson. 4+58 p. Bombay 1839.
– Edited: The Gunitadhia or a Treatise on Astronomy with a Commentary entitled the Mitacshara by Bhaskara Acharya. 15+3+16+309+11 p. Calcutta 1842 (Gaṇitādhyāya); The Goladhia with a Commentary entitled Mitacshara by Bhaskara Acharya. 10+166+7 p. Calcutta 1842 (Golādhyāya); Grahalaghava of Ganesa Daivajna, with the Tika by Mallari. 286 p. Calcutta 1843.
– Sūryasiddhānta, or ancient system of Hindu astronomy, followed by Siddhānta śiromaṇi, with extensive notes. Translated by Pundit Bapu Deva Sastri and L. W. 268 p. B.I. 28/32. Calcutta 1860-62 (Siddh.Śir. by Wilkinson).
– Epigraphical articles in JASB 5, 1836 & 7, 1838.
Sources: A Brief Notice of the late L.W. of the Bombay Civil Service. 15 p. 1853 (an uninformative eulogy); S.R. Sarma, “Sanskrit as vehicle for modern science: L.W.’s efforts in the 1830’s”, Studies in history of Medicine and Science 14, 1995-96, 189-199; briefly Windisch 333; Wikipedia.
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