Gustav Solomon Oppert, (30 July 1836 – 1 March 1908) was a German Indologist and Sanskritist. He was a professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology, Presidency College, Madras, a Telugu translator to government, and a curator in the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library. He was a professor in Madras from 1872 to 1893. He was also editor of the Madras Journal of Literature and Science from 1878 to 1882. After traveling in north India from 1893 to 1894, he returned to Europe in 1894.

Early life edit

Oppert was born in Hamburg on 30 July 1836 and counted Julius Oppert and Ernst Oppert among his eleven siblings.[1] He obtained a PhD in 1860, having attended four universities - Bonn, Leipzig, Berlin and Halle - and in 1866 became an assistant librarian at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. He also took a similar post at Windsor Castle for Queen Victoria.[2]

Orientalist edit

In 1872, Oppert was appointed professor of Sanskrit at the Presidency College in Madras. He stayed in that post until 1893, when he left to conduct a tour of north India, China, Japan and the United States before returning to Berlin to become privat-docent in Dravidian languages at the university.[2]

Oppert's significant writings are On the classification of languages (1879), On the weapons, army, organisation and Political Maxims of the ancient Hindoos (1880), Lists of Sanskrit manuscripts in Southern India (2 Vol. 1880-1885), Contributions to the history of Southern India (1882), and On the original inhabitants of Bharatavarsha of India (1893).[citation needed]

In the last of these, Oppert used extensive philological research to support the idea of the Dravidians as the original inhabitants of India. Among popular Dravidians, Oppert counts Thiruvalluvar, who wrote the Thirukkural, and Avvaiyar, the Tamil poet saint.[citation needed]

He edited the book entitled Ramarajiyamu or Narapativijayamu written in Telugu by Venkayya,[3] when he was working ay Presidency College. It was published by Vavilla Ramaswamy Sastrulu and Sons in 1923.[4]

Death edit

Oppert, who was unmarried and childless, died in Berlin on 1 March 1908. He was buried there at the Weissensee Jewish cemetery.[1]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Pelger, G.: Deutsch-jüdische Gelehrte zwischen Tradition und Emanzipation: das Beispiel des Indologen Gustav Salomon Oppert, University of Halle, Germany. In German. URL last accessed April 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Oppert, Gustav Solomon". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  3. ^ Ramarajiyamu (1923). Ramarajiyamu. Madras: V. Ramaswamy Sastrulu and Sons. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  4. ^ Venkayya (1923). Ramarajiyamu or Narapativijayamu. Chennai: Vavilla Ramaswamy Sastrulu and Sons. pp. 10–13. Retrieved 18 August 2020.

Further reading edit

  • Pelger, Gregor (2002–2003). "A Longing for India: Indophilia among German-Jewish Scholars of the Nineteenth Century". Studia Rosenthaliana. 36: 253–271. doi:10.2143/SR.36.0.504926. JSTOR 41482653.