CELEBRATING 200 YEARS AT THE RAS
15th March 1823 – 15th March 2023
Today, marks the official foundation of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland some 200 hundred years ago on the 15th March 2023 at the Thatched House Tavern at 80 St. James’ which was a favourite spot for club meetings. At the meeting, Henry Thomas Colebrooke, who had been President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, a renowned Sanskritist, took the chair. At least 80 people were in attendance and 300 had applied for membership. This was the culmination of a series of meetings which had started on the 9th of January of the same year when Colebrooke convened a meeting to create a Society with the same aims as the Asiatic Society of Bengal but with a broader remit to cover the whole of Asia. A ten-member committee of management was created and between January and March much had been accomplished for the Minutes of the 15th March record that :
“The meeting had been convened by a printed letter, previously circulated among the members: in which the business, that the meeting would be engaged in, was communicated. It was stated to be chiefly the Election of Council and Officers. The meeting was numerously attended.”
It was also minuted that “His Majesty King George the Fourth, had been graciously pleased to declare himself Patron of the Asiatic Society”. Also, “That the Society be called The Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland”. A ballot was conducted to elect Officers – the President being The Right Honorable Charles Williams Wynn; the Director, Henry Thomas Colebrooke; the Vice-Presidents, Sir George Thomas Staunton, Sir John Malcolm, Sir Alexander Johnston and Colonel Mark Wilks; the Treasurer, James Alexander; and the Secretary, George Henry Noehden.
So, in this our Bicentennial year we endeavour to celebrate the work of the Society, the achievements of its members and their collaborators while looking forward to the future.
EVENTS IN 2023
Several events have already taken place but are listed below.
12th January 6.30pm
PRESENTATION OF THE WORKS OF SIR WILLIAM JONES TO THE RAS LIBRARY BY Dr. MICHAEL LOEWE IN CELEBRATION OF HIS 100th BIRTHDAY WITH A LECTURE BY PROFESSOR JAVED MAJEED ‘Sir William Jones and the Royal Asiatic Society’.
14 February 2023 -01 March 2023
ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY: BICENTENARY TOUR OF TOD’S RAJASTHAN 2023
Udaipur to Jodhpur by way of Chittorgarh, Kota, Bundi and Kumbhalgarh following the three journeys made by Colonel James Tod and his friends, Captain Waugh and Lieutenant Carey,the artist Ghasi and their loyal band in October-December 1819, January-October 1820 and July 1821-March 1822, as described in the Personal Narratives of his Annals of Rajasthan.
The tour was brilliantly organised by Dr. Liz Driver and was an exceptional experience enjoyed by all who participated. We were welcomed, cosseted, offered generous and warm hospitality, met many interesting people, encountered new experiences (for me a ride in a bullock cart) learned much especially about Tod with Liz’s evening seminars and above all laughed much and enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers and those we met along the way. Those who joined us included Ms. Lili Chung (Singapore) , Alan Babington-Smith, President RAS Beijing, (Beijing), Anne Buddle (Edinburgh), Dr. Annabel Gallop, (London), Mr and Mrs Simon Howell (Somerset), Dr. Adrienne Little (London), Melinda Liu, Vice President, RAS Beijing,(Beijing), Dr. Liz Nyholm (London) and Mrs Janis Wensley (Vancouver).
14th -15th -16th Feb We arrived in Udaipur and the next day were officially received at the royal palace by Bhupendra Singh Auwa (Administrator in Chief of Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation) and Dr. Mayank Gupta (Deputy Secretary/Development). We did a tour of this remarkable building with its courtyards, trees, sheltered alcoves and wall paintings and there found the room that was purportedly used by Tod along with some prints of the Tod material found in our collection.
On leaving Udaipur for Bijaipur, we visited Saheliyon Ki Bari a delightful garden with a pavilion where Tod packed his luggage as he prepared to leave India in the Spring of 1822. The was created by Rana Sangram Singh (1690-1734) between 1710-1734 for his wife and the 48 maidens who accompanied her to Udaipur on her marriage. We also visited the Royal Cenotaphs at Ahar which Tod described as ‘a thickly crowded cemetery in which the mausoleums of the Ranas stand conspicuous’.
TO BE CONTINUED
25th April at 6.30 pm
PROFESSOR NILE GREEN, UCLA, ‘HOW ASIA FOUND ITSELF’.
4th May at 6.30
PRESENTATION OF THE RAS MEDAL TO ROBERT IRWIN AND A LECTURE ‘TALES OF THE MAMLUK CRYPT: PREDECESSORS OF MODERN HORROR
18th May 2023 at 6.30 pm
THE AWARD OF THE BICENTENARY MEDAL FOR EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE TO THE SOCIETY TO DR. GORDON JOHNSON
FROM JUNE 2023
THE BICENTENARY LECTURE SERIES:TO BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY
OCTOBER 2023 -DECEMBER 2023 BRUNEI GALLERY, SOAS
Celebrating 200 years of Communication, Collaboration and Dissemination.
24th OCTOBER 6.30 pm
AWARD OF THE BURTON MEDAL TO PEPITA SETH WITH A LECTURE ‘AN UNPLANNED LIFE’.