BIDDULPH, John. Ledbury 25.7.1840 — Gray Court, London 31.12.1921. British Colonial Officer and Anthropologist in India. Son of Robert B. (a Whig M.P.) and Elizabeth Palmer, educated at Westminster School. He “entered the Bengal Cavalry and arrived in India 1858. Served in the mutiny, joined the Indian Staff Corps. A.D.C. to Lord Northbrook when Viceroy, 1872-76.” In 1873-74 participated in the second Yarkand Mission. In 1877-1881 he was First Political Agent (on a secret mission) in the just conquered (by Kashmir) Gilgit. Acting A.G.G. in Baluchistan in 1882, Political Agent in Bhopawar from 1882, in Haraoti and Tonk 1886. Resident and Commissioner in Ajmer 1890, Officiating Agent in Baluchistan 1891, acting Resident in Gwalior 1892, Resident in Baroda 1893. Reverted to military duty 1895, retired as Colonel in 1896. Married in 1882 with Julia Errington Martin.
JB was a noted pioneer of North-western ethnography and his Tribes is, according to Jettmar (1975, 195), a “Meisterleistung”. He was also a keen zoologist who collected important specimens of little known mammals and birds.
Publications: With others: Report of a Mission to Yarkand in 1873, under command of Sir T. D. Forsyth. Calcutta 1875.
– Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh. 351 p. Calcutta 1880 (repr. 1971), Russian transl. Ašhabad 1886.
– Afghan Poetry of the XVIIth Century, being selections from the Poems of Khush Hal Khan Khataj, with Transl. and Grammatical Introduction. 17+120+74 p. L. 1890.
– Works on Indian army and military history.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; Jettmar 1975; Ibis 64, 1922, 348f.; three contemporary articles in Br. Biogr. Arch., but neither in the D.N.B. nor in the Who Was Who; Wikipedia.
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