The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, commonly known as the Royal Asiatic Society (RAS), was established, according to its Royal Charter of 11 August 1824, to further "the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia." From its incorporation the Society has been a forum, through lectures, its journal, and other publications, for scholarship relating to Asian culture and society of the highest level. It is the United Kingdom's senior learned society in the field of Asian studies. Fellows of the Society are elected regularly. Fellows include highly accomplished and notable scholars of Asian Studies.
|The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland|
|Formation||15 March 1823|
|Headquarters||14 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HD, England, United Kingdom|
The society was founded in London in 1823, with the first general meeting being held on 15 March at the Thatched House on St James's Street, London, chaired by Henry Thomas Colebrooke. This meeting elected the officers (including Charles Williams-Wynn as the first president) and council, defined that the name of the society was the Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and that members should be designated Members of the Asiatic Society (M.A.S.). It also empowered the council to frame regulations (these were approved at the next general meeting on 19 April), to look for a suitable site for the society's meetings, and to seek a charter of incorporation. Later that year, at a general meeting held on 7 June, Williams-Wynn announced that King George IV, who had already agreed to be patron of the society, had granted the title of "Royal" to the society, giving it the member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and its members the designation Members of the Royal Asiatic Society (M.R.A.S.). The society received its charter under that name on 11 August 1824.
The RAS was established by a group primarily composed of notable scholars and colonial administrators. It was intended to be the British counterpart to the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, which had been founded in 1784 by the noted Sanskrit scholar and jurist Sir William Jones. A leading figure in the foundation of the RAS was Henry Thomas Colebrooke, who was himself an important Sanskrit scholar, and one time President of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta.
Due to the nature of the Society's close connection with the British Empire in the east, much of the work originating with the society has been focused on topics concerning the Indian subcontinent. However, the purview of the Society extends far beyond India: all of Asia and into Islamic North Africa, and Ethiopia are included. The Society does have a few limitations on its field on interest, such as recent political history and current affairs. This particular moratorium led to the founding of the Central Asian Society, which later became the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. After World War II, with the gradual end of British political hegemony 'east of Suez', the Society maintained its disinterested academic focus on Asia.
Originally, members of the society were styled Members (M.R.A.S.), Honorary Members (Hon. M.R.A.S., Corresponding Members (C.M.R.A.S.) and Foreign Members (F.M.R.A.S.). While the categories changed, and the postnominals fell out of use, they were still "members" in the 1908 constitution. From 1967, reports of the Anniversary Meeting refer to "fellows" rather than "members". Currently (as of 2018), members are designated "fellows" or "student fellows"; no postnominals are assigned by the society to these grades. Notable members and fellows of the society have included Rabindranath Tagore, Sir Aurel Stein, Sir Wilfred Thesiger, and George V. Tsereteli.
It is also affiliated with the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch (established in 1847), the Asiatic Society of Japan (established in 1875), the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (established in 1877), and Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch (established in 1900).
In China the former South China Branch is now known as the Hong Kong Branch. The North China branch has been re-established in 2006 in Shanghai as the Royal Asiatic Society China, the original branch having been founded in 1857 and dissolved in 1952. It has chapters in Suzhou and Beijing.
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (JRAS) is published by Cambridge University Press four times a year, each issue containing a number of scholarly essays, and several book reviews. It has been published under its current name since 1991, having previously been the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1834–1991) and Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1824–1834). The present editor of the journal is Dr Sarah Ansari of Royal Holloway, University of London. The Executive Editor is Charlotte de Blois. The society also regularly publishes historical manuscripts, and monographs of the highest academic quality on numerous topics.
This fund was initially established in 1828; and the results of its initial funding projects were soon forthcoming. The Fund became one of a large number of Victorian subscription printing clubs which published translations, re-issued historical works or commissioned original books which were too specialized for commercial publication; but unlike most of those now defunct organizations, the work of the Royal Asiatic Society Oriental Translation Fund is on-going into the 21st century with a "new series" and "old series" microform catalog available for scholarly research.
Sir Alexander Johnston, PC, FRS (25 April 1775 – 6 March 1849), was a British colonial official who served as third Chief Justice of Ceylon and second Advocate Fiscal of Ceylon. He introduced a range of administrative reforms in Sri Lanka, introducing numerous liberal ideas and supporting the rights of natives. He was also an orientalist and along with Henry Thomas Colebrooke and others he was a founding member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.Arta (Kamuia)
Arta (or Artas in Kharoshthi) was the elder brother of the well known Gandhara ruler Maues or Moga.C. M. Whish
Charles Matthew Whish (1794–1833) was an English civil servant in the Madras Establishment of the East India Company. Whish was the first to bring to the notice of the western mathematical scholarship the achievements of the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics. Whish wrote in his historical paper: Kerala mathematicians had ... laid the foundation for a complete system of fluxions ... and their works ... abound with fluxional forms and series to be found in no work of foreign countries.
Whish was also a linguist and had prepared a grammar and a dictionary of the Malayalam language.C.M. Whish was a collector of palm-leaf manuscripts in Sanskrit and other languages. After his premature death in 1833 at the age of thirty-eight years, Whish's brother, J.L. Whish, who was also employed in the service of East India Company deposited these manuscripts in the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in July 1836. A catalogue of these manuscripts list 195 items. Though the manuscripts collected by Whish are not distinguished
by great age, there are many rare and valuable ones among them. Perhaps the most important of all are the
Mahabharata manuscripts which represent a distinct recension of the great epic. These manuscripts were related a wide range of subjects: vedic literature, ancient epic poetry, classical Sanskrit Literature, and technical and scientific literature.
He joined the service of East India Company in 1812 as Register of Zillah Court in South Malabar and rose up the judicial ladder to become finally a Criminal Judge at Cuddapah. Cuddapah Town Cemetery had a tomb in the name of C.M. Whish with the inscription "Sacred to the memory of C.M. Whish, Esquire of the Civil Service, who departed this life on the 14th April 1833, aged 38 years".Columbia University Indo-Iranian Series
The Columbia University Indo-Iranian Series is a 13-volume book series edited by A. V. Williams Jackson and published by the Columbia University Press between 1901 and 1932.Douglas Ainslie
Grant Duff Douglas Ainslie (1865–27 March 1948) was a Scottish poet, translator, critic and diplomat. He was born in Paris, France, and educated at Eton College and at Balliol and Exeter Colleges, Oxford. A contributor to the Yellow Book, he met and befriended Oscar Wilde at age twenty-one while an undergraduate at Oxford. He was also associated with other such notable figures as Aubrey Beardsley, Walter Pater and Marcel Proust. The first translator of the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce into English, he also lectured on Hegel. He was identified as the "Dear Ainslie" recipient of twelve letters written by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1895 - 1896, which were auctioned by Christie's in 2004.Ainslie was a Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.Epigraphia Zeylanica
Epigraphia Zeylanica is an irregularly published series that deals with epigraphs and other records from ancient Ceylon. Established in 1904, the series' contents range from individual articles and notes on inscriptions to single-author monographs. Over the last century, Epigraphia Zeylanica has functioned as a key source for the history of ancient Ceylon and its early epigraphic records.F. O. Oertel
Friedrich Oscar Oertel (December 9, 1862 – February 22, 1942) was a German-born engineer, architect, and archaeologist. He is best known among Indian art historians and archaeologists for having excavated the archaeological site of Sarnath (India, Uttar Pradesh) in the winter of 1904–1905. It was here that in March 1905 he unearthed the capital of an Ashokan pillar, which was to become the national emblem of India. However, probably because he was mainly involved as a civil engineer and architect in the Public Works Department, his contributions to the fields of art history and archaeology are largely overlooked in the historiography of South Asian art and archaeology.Fellows of The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Fellows of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland are the individuals who have been elected by the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society to further "the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science literature and the arts in relation to Asia".
The Society was established in London in 1823 and received its Royal Charter from King George IV the following year. Since then, the Society has been a forum, through lectures, its journal, and other publications, for scholarship relating to Asian Studies of the highest level. The Royal Asiatic Society is the United Kingdom's senior learned society in Asian Studies, and is patronised by His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. At present the Society has about 700 Fellows, of whom half live abroad, and many of whom are highly accomplished and notable scholars of Asian Studies.International Congress of Orientalists
The International Congress of Orientalists, initiated in Paris in 1873, was an international conference of Orientalists (initially mostly scholars from Europe and the USA). The first thirteen meetings were held in Europe; the fourteenth congress was held in Algiers in 1905. Papers were primarily about philology and archaeology. The Proceedings of the Congresses were published. The work of the International Congress of Orientalists is carried on by the International Congress of Asian and North African Studies.James Tod
Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod (20 March 1782 – 18 November 1835) was an English-born officer of the British East India Company and an Oriental scholar. He combined his official role and his amateur interests to create a series of works about the history and geography of India, and in particular the area then known as Rajputana that corresponds to the present day state of Rajasthan, and which Tod referred to as Rajast'han.
Tod was born in London and educated in Scotland. He joined the East India Company as a military officer and travelled to India in 1799 as a cadet in the Bengal Army. He rose quickly in rank, eventually becoming captain of an escort for an envoy in a Sindian royal court. After the Third Anglo-Maratha War, during which Tod was involved in the intelligence department, he was appointed Political Agent for some areas of Rajputana. His task was to help unify the region under the control of the East India Company. During this period Tod conducted most of the research that he would later publish. Tod was initially successful in his official role, but his methods were questioned by other members of the East India Company. Over time, his work was restricted and his areas of oversight were significantly curtailed. In 1823, owing to declining health and reputation, Tod resigned his post as Political Agent and returned to England.
Back home in England, Tod published a number of academic works about Indian history and geography, most notably Annals and Antiquities of Rajast'han, based on materials collected during his travels. He retired from the military in 1826, and married Julia Clutterbuck that same year. He died in 1835, aged 53.Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society is an academic journal which publishes articles on the history, archaeology, literature, language, religion and art of South Asia, the Middle East (together with North Africa and Ethiopia), Central Asia, East Asia and South-East Asia. It has been published by the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland since 1834.Maysun bint Bahdal
Maysūn bint Baḥdal (ميسون بنت بحدل, d. 700), is noted as a wife of Caliph Mu‘āwiya I, and as mother of his successor and son Caliph Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya. In this capacity, she had a significant role in the politics of the Umayyad Caliphate.
Maysūn bint Baḥdal also enjoys a reputation as one of the earliest attested Arabic-language women poets. However, that reputation seems to belong to another woman of a similar name, Maysūn bint Jandal (see below).Rajuvula
Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap (Mahakshatrapa), one of the "Northern Satraps" who ruled in the area of Mathura in the northern Indian Subcontinent in the years around 10 CE. The Mathura lion capital was consecrated under the reign of Rajuvula. In central India, the Indo-Scythians had conquered the area of Mathura from Indian kings around 60 BCE. Some of their satraps were Hagamasha and Hagana, who were in turn followed by Rajuvula.Ronald E. Asher
Ronald E. Asher (born 23 July 1926) is a British linguist and educator specialised in Dravidian languages. He is a fellow of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1964), a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1991), and a Honorary fellow of the Sahitya Akademi.Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch
Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch was founded in 1847, but ceased to exist at the end of 1859. Exactly a century later, on December 28, 1959, it was reborn with the approval of the parent society in London the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.The Society is open to all with an interest in the art, literature and culture of China and Asia, with special reference to Hong Kong.Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka
The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka (RASSL) is based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is one of the oldest learned societies in Sri Lanka with a history of over 160 years. It was established on 7 February 1845, paralleling the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland to further oriental research as the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. In 1977 it was renamed the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.Sadratnamala
Sadratnamala is an astronomical-mathematical treatise in Sanskrit written by Sankara Varman, an astronomer-mathematician of the Kerala school of mathematics, in 1819. Even though the book has been written at a time when western mathematics and astronomy had been introduced in India, it is composed purely in the traditional style followed by the mathematicians of the Kerala school. Sankara Varman has also written a detailed commentary on the book in Malayalam.
Sadratnamala is one of the books cited in C. M. Whish's paper on the achievements of the Kerala school of mathematics. This paper published in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in 1834, was the first ever attempt to bring the accomplishments of Keralese mathematicians to the attention of Western mathematical scholarship.Whish wrote in his paper thus: "The author of Sadratnamalah is SANCARA VARMA, the younger brother of the present Raja of Cadattanada near Tellicherry, a very intelligent man and acute mathematician. This work, which is a complete system of Hindu astronomy, is comprehended in two hundred and eleven verses of different measures, and abounds with fluxional forms and series, to be found in no work of foreign or other Indian countries."Stuart N. Wolfenden
Stuart Norris Wolfenden (1889 – 28 December 1938) was a linguist who worked at the University of California, Berkeley during the first part of the 20th century. During the New Deal he was titular head of the Sino-Tibetan philology project, which both Robert Shafer and Paul K. Benedict were directors of. In the 1970s the 'Stuart Wolfenden Society' was founded in his honor, together with a monograph series 'Occasional papers of the Wolfenden Society', in which James Matisoff published many of his early works.Tirahi language
Tirahi, also called Dardù, is a nearly extinct if not already extinct Dardic language of the Kohistani group spoken in the Nangarhar Province of Northeastern Afghanistan. It is spoken by older adults, who are likewise fluent in Southern Pashto.