Intellectual precedence, appropriation and theft

From Refashioning Iran, p 20-32, a list of precedences, appropriations and thefts:

During his residence in India between 1755 and 1761, Anquetil-Duperon was trained to read and decipher Pahlavi texts by Zoroastrian scholard Dastur Darab bin suhrab, also known as Ustad Kumana Dada-Daru of Surat (1698-1722), Dastur Kavus bin Faraydun (d. 1778), and Manuchihrji Seth. The study of Avestan and Pahlavi texts had been an important component of Parsi intellectual life in India well before anquetil-Duperron translated and published his Zand-Avesta (1771). [p 21]

Upon the request of the lexicographer Mir Jamal al-Din Iniu (d. 16Z6), who was commissioned to compile a comprehensive Persian dictionary, [Emperor] Akbar [r. 1556-1605] invited Dastur Ardeshir Nawshirvan of Kirman to the court in 1597 to assist Inju with the compilation of the “Zand and Pazand” components of Farhang-i Jahangiri. This dictionary functioned as an essential tool for Siraj al·Din Khan Arzu, who ascertained the affinity of Persian and Sanskrit, a significant event in historical linguistics, a few decades before Sir William Jones. It also provided the semantic resource for the nineteenth-century nationalist attempts to purify Persian of Arabic terms and concepts. [p 22]

The translation and the publication of Zend-Avesta (1771) by Anquetil-Duperron was made possible by Dastur Darab, Dastur Kavus, and other Parsi scholars who taught him Pahlavi language and manuscript collection. [p 22]

On the eve of Anquetil’s departure for Europe, Dasturs Darab and Kavus sued him for the failure to pay the price for purchased manuscripts and tutorial charges. [p 152, note 24]

[William] Jones’s connection to Persianate scholars predated his 1783 arrival in India. Mirza I’tisam al-Din, an Indian who traveled to England between 1766 and 1769, reported that during his journey to Europe he helped to translate the introductory section of the Persian dictionary Farhang-i Jahangiri, which was made available to Jones when he composed his academic bestseller A Grammar of the Persian Language (1771). I’tisam al-Din recounted:

Formerly, on ship-board, Captain S[winton] read with me the whole of the Kuleelaah and Dumnah [Kalilah va Dimnah], and had translated the twelve rules of the Furhung Jehangeree which comprise the grammar of the Persian language. Mr. Jones having seen that translation, with the approbation of Captain Swinton, compiled his Grammar, and having printed it, sold it and made a good deal of money by it. This Grammar is a very celebrated one.

[p 24]

A few decades prior to Jones, the Persian lexicographer and linquist Siraj al-Din Arzu (c. 1689-1756) wrote a comprehensive study of the Persian language, Muthmir (Fruition), discerning its affinity with Sanskrit. Textual evidence indicates that Jones might have been familiar with this work and so might have used it in writing the lecture that gained him recognition as “the creattor of the comparative grammar of Sanskrit and Zend.” [p 26]

With the assistance of Bahman Yazdi, a Zoroastrian scholar who had fled Iran, Jones was able to articulate the theses that established him as “the creator of comparative grammar of Sanskrit and Zend. [p 30]

[The] list of common terms in Chaldiack and Pahlavi offered by Jones […] were among the first few words that appeared in a list of over 40 terms analyzed by Arzu under the heading “On Lexical Affinity” (dar tavafuq-i alfaz). [p 30]

The archives of unpublished Persian texts commissioned by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British Orientalists reveal [the] underside of Orientalism. Having examined the works of the British who commissioned these unpublished works, it appears to me that they had “authored” books that closely resemble their commissioned Persian works. For instance, Charles Hamilton’s Historical Relation of the Origin, Progress, and Final Dissolution of the Rohilla Afghans (1787) corresponds closely to Shiv Parshad’s Tarikh-i Fayz Bakhsh (1776). Similarly W. Francklin’s History of the Reign of Shah-Aulum, the Present Emperor of Hindustan (1798) is comparable in content and form to Ghulam ‘Ali Khan’s Ayi’n ‘Alamshahi. Likewise, a large set of Persian language reports on Tibet provided the textual and factual foundations for Captain Samuel Turner’s An Account of an Embassy to the Court of the Teshoo Lama in Tibet Containing a Narrative of a Journey Through Bootan, and Part of Tibet (1800). The most fascinating of these textual concordances is William Moorcrofts’s Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan and Panjab. […] In 1812, Moorcroft commissioned Mir ‘Izzat Allah to journey from Calcutta to the Central Asian city of Bukhara. Along the way, Mir ‘Izzat Allah collected invaluable historical and anthropological information which he recorded in his “Ahval-i Safar-i Bukhara.” Mir ‘Izzat Allah’s findings, similarly, provided the factual foundations for the “pioneering” Travels of Moorcroft. [pp 31-32]

Mirza Salih composed a set of dialogues in Persian which were published in William Price’s A Grammar of the Three Principal Oriental Languages. […]
Oddly enough, Mirza Salih is only remembered as a member of the first group of Iranian students sent to England in 1815 who were supposedly in need of “instruction in reading and writing their own language.” [pp. 32-33]

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  1. […] on these and other collated texts, it seems that in its formative phase European students of the Orient, rather than initiating […]