Monday, March 5, 2012

An American comes to India to learn about his English ancestor

When Alberto Taylor found a pictorial graph of his family history, he never thought it would take him to a land thousands of kilometres away.

The California-based dentist learnt that he was a descendent of Colonel Philip Meadows Taylor, an Englishman who served the Nizam of Hyderabad in various capacities.

Dr. Taylor travelled to England and Mexico meeting other people who were part of his family tree. He found books about India written by Meadows Taylor and was fascinated.

“That is when I decided to visit India,” he says.

He got in touch with Australia-based art historian Suprateek Mukherji and contacted resource persons at the Centre of Historical Research at Surpur in Yadgir district.

In Bidar
Dr. Taylor began his weeklong tour of India at Hyderabad on Saturday.

He arrived in Bidar on Sunday. A group of eminent citizens welcomed Dr. Taylor and showed him around the fort. He was accompanied by M. Bhaskar Rao, president of the centre.

Historian B.R. Konda took him around the Solah Kambah Masjid, Rangeen Mahal and the Madrassa of Mahamud Gawan. Archaeological Survey of India's Conservation Officer Anandateertha N., professor Vithaldas Pyage and others were present.

So what were Dr. Taylor's first impressions? “I thought Indians had forgotten all about Meadows Taylor. But that is not so. They recall his contributions so fondly. They have researched him, written books about him, organised seminars and painting exhibitions. I could not be happier,” he said.

He thanked the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Information Department for organising seminars on Meadows Taylor on his 200th birth anniversary in 2008.

Dr. Taylor is scheduled to visit Gulbarga, Bijapur, Hampi and Badami — places connected to the life of Meadows Taylor.

He said that staying at the Taylor Manzil, an inspection bungalow built on the hill in Surpur by Meadows Taylor, would remain in his memory for a long time.

Who is Meadows Taylor?

Philip Meadows Taylor was a military officer, civil servant, judge, engineer, archaeologist, painter and writer.

Born in Liverpool in England, he came to India at the age of 15 to be a clerk to a Bombay merchant. He accepted a commission in the service of the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1824.

His sketch of the Madrasa of Mahamud Gawan is the first historical sketch available of the monument. His work on Gawan and the Bahmani kings sparked interest among European scholars in the history of medieval Deccan.

Meadows Taylor's novels, Confessions of a Thug and Tippoo Sultaun are considered classics. His anthropological works, The People of India and Student's Manual of the History of India , serve as reference books even today.

Source: the Hindu