Blochmann, Heinrich Ferdinand

Blochmann, Heinrich Ferdinand, a famous German Orientalist, was born Jan. 8, 1838, at Dresden. He studied at Leipsic, where Prof. Fleischer was his teacher in Oriental languages. In 1857 he continued his studies at Paris, and in 1858 he went to England with a view of going to India and prosecuting his studies there. As about that time England was in need of soldiers for the suppression of the Indian rebellion, Blochmann entered the service as an English soldier. On the way, the attention of the officers was called to his linguistic ability, and one of the commanding colonels engaged him as teacher of the Persian language. When they arrived at Calcutta, through the kindness of his pupil, Blochmann soon found a position congenial to his tastes, and before the year was over he received his dismissal from the army. In 1860 he was appointed professor of Arabic and Persian at the Calcutta Madrasah. In 1861 he was promoted as magister artium and linguarum doctor; and in 1862 he was elected pro-rector of Doveton College in Calcutta. When in 1866 the rectorate of the Madrasah became vacant, Blochmann was appointed to fill it temporarily. In this position he developed his faculties as a teacher, and although his work was a difficult one — himself being the only Christian against thirty Mohammedan professors — yet they all acknowledged his scientific superiority and his beneficial influence upon the institution. The government appreciated his work by appointing him in 1874-75 principal of the institution. He died July 13, 1878. Blochmann, who acted for some time as secretary of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Calcutta, was the first who deciphered the often overlooked and greatly unknown temple inscriptions of India. He also deciphered some ancient coins, and thus threw light upon the history and political geography of India. Of his publications we mention, The Prosody of the Persians (1872): — Contributions to the Geography and History of Bengal (1873): — The Hindu Rajahs under the Mughal Government. The Proceedings and Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal contain a great many articles from his pen, of lasting value. See Krone, in Zeitschrift der D. M. G., 1879, 23:335 sq. (B. P.)

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