William Wilson Hunter

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Sir William Wilson Hunter KCSI CIE (15 July 1840 – 6 February 1900) was a Scottish historian, statistician, a compiler and a member of the Indian Civil Service.


  • The grammar of Panini stands supreme among the grammars of the world, alike for its precision of statement, and for its thorough analysis of the roots of the language and of the formative principles of words. By employing an algebraic terminology it attains a sharp succinctness unrivalled in brevity, but at times enigmatical. It arranges, in logical harmony, the whole phenomena, which the Sanskrit language presents, and stands forth as one of the most splendid achievements of human invention and industry. So elaborate is the structure that doubts have arisen whether its complex rules offormation and phonetic change, its polysyllabic derivatives, its ten conjugations with1heir multiform aorists and long array of tenses, could ever have been the spoken language of a people." 29
  • The Hindus attained a very high proficiency in arithmetic and algebra independently of any foreign influence." The romance of the composition of Lilavati - the standard Hindu textbook on Arithmetic by Bhaskaracharya - is very interesting and charming. It deals not only with the basic elements of the science of arithmetic but also with questions of interest, of barter, ofpermutatlOns and combinations, and of mensuration. Bhaskaracharya knew the law of gravitation. The Surya Siddhanta is based on a system of trigonometry. Professor Wallace says: "In fact it is founded on a geometrical theorem, which was not known to the geometricians of Europe before the time of Vieta, about two hundred years ago. And it employs the sine of arcs, a thing unknown to the Greeks." The 47th proposition of Book I of Euclid, which is ascribed to Pythagoras was known long ago to the Hindus and must have been learnt from them by Pythagoras.
  • The whole conception of Islam is that of a church either actively militant or conclusively triumphant forcibly converting the world, or ruling the stiff-necked unbeliever with a rod of iron.
    • The Imperial Gazetteer of India, II, London, 1881, 18. and in **Hardy, P. (1977). Modern European and Muslim Explanations of Conversion to Islam in South Asia: A Preliminary Survey of the Literature. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 2, 177–206.
  • Upon our annexation of the Punjab the fanatic fury, which had formerly spent itself upon the Sikhs, was transferred to their successors. Hindus and English were alike infidels in the eyes of the Sittana Host, and as such were to be exterminated by the sword. The disorders as ‘ which we had connived at, or at least viewed with indifference, upon the Sikh frontier, now descended as a bitter inheritance to ourselves, Their followers were found preaching sedition in different parts of the country so far apart as Rajshahiin Bengal, Patna in Bihar and the Punjab frontier. Throughout the whole period the fanatics kept the border tribes in a state of chronic hostility to the British Power.
    • The Indian Mussulmans, p 13, quoted in [1]
  • Scholarship is warmed with the holy flame of Christian zeal.
    • quoted in D Swarup, Genesis of the Aryan race theory, and quoted in 'The Invasion That Never Was' by Michel Danino (1996) and [2]
  • To the aboriginal races alone can we appear in the light of friends and deliverers. They have yet to start on the path of progress. It remains for us to decide whether that path is to lead them to Hinduism, or to the purer faith and civilisation which we represent.
    • quoted in D Swarup, Genesis of the Aryan race theory, and quoted in 'The Invasion That Never Was' by Michel Danino (1996) and [3]
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