Re-Education

Asian Educational Services is an oddly named publishing house... but with a superb backlist! Based in Shapur Jat, AES, a company of about 35 years standing specialises in republishing books of historical and antiquarian value. By now they have published about 1200 titles most of which are out of copyright.

This set is eclectic, ranging from travel books, history, art.. and not just about India, but also Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, China, Burma, Arabia, Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan...

The educational aspect is covered in their long list of dictionaries and grammar. Croatian, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili, Sinhalese, Tibetan, Burmese, Persian, Pukhto, Chinese, Inuktitut, Amharic. You get the idea.

And their authors are very much the who was who of the 19th century- Francis Younghusband, Richard Burton, Max Mueller, Herman Oldenberg, R. C. Childers, Monier-Williams, Stiengass, E. W. Lane, the Rhys Davids couple, W. Geiger, Vincent Smith, James Princep, William Moorcroft…

And James Fergusson (1808-1886), author of the sumptuous Tree and Serpent Worship that was first published in 1868. Fergusson was a self-taught historian who made an early fortune which he then spent on his independent studies of Indian architecture. His associate, James Waterhouse, an "amateur" photographer who was surveyor-general to the Survey of India for whom he spent the years 1864 to 1875 documenting our (then) diversity.

The frontispiece of Tree and Serpent Worship is derived from a photograph of Waterhouse’s, of the Northern gateway of the Sanchi Stupa... which looks pretty much the same today as well. The book has more photographs by Waterhouse and also others by W H Griggs, of the Amaravati sculptures (now at the V&A in London).

There are many such treats to be had from AES, some of which will appear on the Scholars site from time to time. Tod's Annals of Rajasthan, for instance. Or the Manual of the Andamanese Languages- for philological if not linguistic value!

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