‘I buy MSS wherever I am able to put my hand on them, which is not at all easy. The Brahmins do not want to part with them and hand them over to people from another faith. Only some deceitful agents are able to trick them into selling. I have been really lucky in my speculations and could thus collect some really precious MSS.’ (Excerpt from Dr. Bühler’s letter Nr. 5 April 1863).
Within the scholarly world of nineteenth-century Europe, the identity of the Indologist, Dr. Georg Bühler (1837-1898), remained unfortunately restricted to this single facet, namely, ‘a mere trader of Sanskrit MSS’. This monograph attempts to give the readers a much deeper understanding of Dr. Bühler’s scholastic contributions to the Indian Antiquity. Not many in India are aware that the rich and diverse scripts of Indian regional languages were not forcibly converted in the Roman script—which happened in case of other Far Eastern colonies of the British Raj—and were allowed to survive and thrive because a pragmatic group of Indologists of the nineteenth century, Dr. Bühler being one of the most towering figures amongst them, stood vehemently against this destruction. It is therefore no wonder that his monumental work and repute as an epigrapher and palaeographer earned him a place in the first fifty individuals appointed to the ‘Order of the Indian Empire’ in 1878.
Dr. Bühler was in many ways a focal point for Indological scholarship in German Europe, opening doors for the expansion of active Indological studies in German universities.