Professor Peter Peterson, a Sanskritist by training, was the last European to be appointed as Professor of Oriental Languages in the Elphinstone College, Bombay. He served as Registrar of the Bombay University for a considerably long period. Peterson was the President of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society when he passed away in 1899, but his association with the Society was for over quarter of a century. A popular teacher who spent his entire public career in Bombay, Peterson had served both on the Town Council and Municipal Corporation and opined on several issues through his writings in the Times of India. Despite being associated with some of the premier public institutions in Bombay, the contours of his life remain rather hazy in public memory.
This monograph focuses on Peterson and his scholarly contributions. It delineates the intensely competitive and invigorating world of scholarship inhabited by his colleagues, Georg Bühler, R.G. Bhandarkar, J. F. Fleet, James Burgess and Bhagwanlal Indraji, stalwarts in the field of Indology. Peterson’s lasting contribution was towards the ‘Search for Sanskrit Manuscripts’ project, funded out of Imperial revenues, and culminating in the establishment of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, one of the largest institutional repositories of manuscripts all over the world. This work on the life of Peter Peterson, will enable readers to peer into the world of research and learning, and take away a slice of life, and history, of late nineteenth century Bombay.