|Sir William Wilson Hunter, Imperial Gazetter en.wikipedia.org|
|A History of British India by William W. Hunter-Reviews,... goodreads.com|
William Wilson Hunter KCSI CIE (July 1840 - February 1900), born on 15 July 1840 in Glasgow, Scotland, was educated at Glasgow University (BA 1860), Paris and Bonn. He was a well-known Scottish historian, statistician and a compiler in the British India. Besides, he was a scholar in Sanskrit. With amazing skill and energy, he collected various statistical data across India and produced an enormous volume of data that were published in the Imperial Gazette. The nice thing about him was he worked hard with bureaucratic zeal of Victorian historians and his works are frequently referred to even today by researchers. Hunter said that "It was my hope to make a memorial of England's work in India, more lasting, because truer and more complete, than these monuments of Mughal Empire and of French ambition".
Hunter was of the opinion that 'nothing is more costly than ignorance'. His aim of work was neither scientific discovery nor literary graces, but simply an earnest endeavor to render India better governed, better understood. His work helped fight ignorance, prejudice and false opinions flowing down upon the British from the past and prepare the foundation for a truer and wider knowledge of India in time. Till his retirement he was a true bureaucrat and later a dedicated worker till his death. A true Karma Yogi.
The following are inspiring achievements :
.. He began his huge statistical work (done in India) in 1869, and published nine volumes in 1881 and before his death he compiled a twenty-six volume set.
.. He acquired a good knowledge of Sanskrit LL.D., before passing first in the final examination for the Indian Civil Service in 1862. The ICS, a prestigious exam, was exclusively for various Indian Administration works in British India under the Crown
.. On his first assignment in the Bengal Presidency in November 1862, he recorded the local traditions in practice. Based on his work, he later published 'The Annals of Rural Bengal'. His interesting work attracted a lot of people.
.. He prepared A Comparative Dictionary of the Non-Aryan Languages of India, a glossary of dialects based mainly upon the collections of Brian Houghton Hodgson.
.. On Gov. General Lord Mayo's suggestion in 1869 Hunter prepared a compilation of various gazette, using a particular method of in-depth scheme followed in the statistical survey of India. He used the Ain-i-Akbari and Description de l'Égypte as models.
.. On 30 May 1871 on Gov. Gen. Mayo's advice, he completed his influential work "The Indian Musalmans" in mid-June 1871 and published it as a book. It was about whether Indian Muslim rebellion was driven by religion against the Crown.
|Sir William W. Hunter, a book on Indian Musalmans. www.goodreads.com|
.. In 1872 Hunter published his History of Orissa.
.. A Statistical Account of Bengal (20 volumes, 1875-1877) and later yet another work for Assam (2 volumes, 1879) are of help to the historians now. Using them as models statistical data for the entire British India was prepared.
.. During this period the first Census of India, covering a vast area was taken. It brought to light the population of India then was more than that of the whole of Europe minus Russia.
.. The statistical details of 240 administrative districts in 128 volumes were presented in condensed form in condensed into the nine volumes of The Imperial Gazetteer of India (first edition) in 1881, second edition of 14 volumes published between 1885 and 1887 and the third one in 26 volumes in 1908.
.. The Atlas of India was part of the third edition under the editorship of under the editorship of Herbert Hope Risley, et al.
.. Hunter's own work A Brief History of the Indian People, published in 1880 was translated and used in Indian schools.
In 1887 he retired from the service,, and settled at Oaken Holt, near Oxford.
.. Hunter himself contributed the volumes on Dalhousie (1890) and Mayo (1891). He already wrote about Lord Mayo published two volumes in November 1875.
.. On a trip to the Caspian1898 -1899, Hunter contracted a severe attack of influenza, which affected his heart. He died at Oaken Holt on 6 February 1900.
William Hunter was the earliest British administrator to show to the world the importance of statistical data in various fields like population, culture, agriculture, geography, etc for the good governance of a country.