Heinrich Blochmann

German orientalist

Heinrich Blochmann, known as Henry Ferdinand Blochmann (8 January 1838 – 13 July 1878), was a German orientalist and scholar of Persian language and literature who spent most of his career in India, where he worked first as a professor, and eventually as the principal at Calcutta Madrasa, now Aliah University in present Kolkata. He is also remembered for one of the first major English translations of Ain-i-Akbari, the 16th-century Persian language chronicle of Mughal emperor Akbar, published in 1873.


  • The invaders were few and the country was too large and too populous. The waves of immigration from Turan were few and far between, and deposited on Indian soil adventurers, warriors, and learned men, rather than artisans and colonists. Hence the Muhammadans depended upon the Hindoos for labour of every kind, from architecture down to agriculture and the supply of servants. Many branches they had to learn from the Hindoos, as, for example, the cultivation of indigeneous produce, irrigation, coinage, medicine, the building of houses, and weaving of stuffs suitable for the climate, the management of elephants, and so forth.
    • Henry Blochmann, “A Chapter from Muhammadan History” in The Calcutta Review, No. civ. 1871 cited in Bernier, p.40 n. quoted from K.S. Lal, Indian Muslims, who are they (2012)
  • Islam has no state clergy, but we find a counterpart to our hierarchical bodies in the Ulemas about the court from whom the Sadrs of the provinces, the Mir Adls, Muftis and Qazis were appointed. At Delhi and Agra, the body of the learned had always consisted of staunch Sunnis, who believed it their duty to keep the kings straight. How great their influence was, may be seen from the fact that of all Muhammadan emperors only Akbar, and perhaps Alauddin Khalji, succeeded in putting down this haughty sect.
    • Henry Blochmann, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
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