Francis Buchanan-Hamilton

Scottish traveller and naturalist (1762-1829)

Dr Francis Buchanan FRS FRSE FLS FAS FSA DL (15 February 1762 – 15 June 1829), later known as Francis Hamilton but often referred to as Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, was a Scottish physician who made significant contributions as a geographer, zoologist, and botanist while living in India. He did not assume the name of Hamilton until three years after his retirement from India.


  • “Unfortunately, if these temples ever existed, not the smallest trace of their remains to judge of the period when they were built; and the destruction is very generally attributed by the Hindus to the furious zeal of Aurangzabe, to whom also is imputed the overthrow of the temples in Benarase and Mathura. What may have been the case in the two latter, I shall not now take up on myself to say, but with respect to Ayodhya the tradition seems very ill-founded. The bigot by whom the temples were destroyed, is said to have erected mosques on the situations of the most remarkable temples, but the mosque at Ayodhya, which is by far the most entire, and which has every appearance of being the most modern, is ascertained by an inscription on its walls to have been built by Babur, 5 generations before Aurangzabe.” (Buchanan’s original report, pp. 116-17)
    • Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited.
  • “...from its name, Ramgar, I am inclined to support that it was a part of the building actually erected by Rama.”
    • Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. ch 11
  • I remained at Calicut... The proper name of the place is Colicodu... Tippoo destroyed the town, and removed its inhabitants to Nelluru, the name of which he changed to Furruck-abad ; for, like all the Mussulmans of India, he was a mighty changer of old Pagan names.

Quotes about Francis Buchanan-HamiltonEdit

  • Buchanan opines that Babar had built the mosque not on empty land, but on the site of the Ramkot “castle”, which to him may well have been the very castle in which Rama himself had lived. This claim only differs from the local tradition and the VHP position by being even bolder. According to him, the black-stone pillars (with Hindu sculptures defaced by “the bigot” Babar) incorporated in the Masjid had been “taken from the ruins of the palace”, and at any rate from “a Hindu building”. Obviously, the site was considered by the devotees as Rama’s court, originally a castle and only later a temple.
    • Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • “Buchanan soon developed a reputation as an irritant to the orientalist establishment, which was (in Vicziany’s words) “inclined towards a Brahmanical interpretation of Indian society.” By publishing an essay on Burmese Buddhism, Buchanan juxtaposed “the egalitarianism of Buddhism against the oppressive, hierarchical nature of Brahmanism. Buchanan’s hatred of the entrenched Brahmin class in India, together with his critical reading of the religious scriptures, marked him out as a man ideally equipped to act as the Company’s reporter on native affairs’.”(Appendix 1, p. 15)
    • William R. Pinch in his book ‘Peasants and Monks in British India’. quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited.

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