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First and only edition of the first English grammar of the Sindhi language rendered in 5 different scripts (3 lithographically)

[WATHEN, William Henry].
Grammar of the Sindhí language.
[Bombay/Mumbai], Government Gazette Press, F.D. Ramos printer, 1836. Small folio. With 9 lithographic pages showing alphabets in Multani, Khudabadi (with additional sample texts) and Devanagari scripts. The letterpress text is set in roman and italic types, with Sindhi words also transcribed in a nastaliq Arabic type. This copy has an (extra-added?) large folding lithographic map (34 x 43 cm; outer border 31.5 x 38 cm) covering most of what is now Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and parts of Azerbaijan, India and other surrounding regions. Contemporary black half sheepskin. [6], “70” [= 74 including or 64 excluding the lithographic leaves], [32] pp.
€ 12,500
Rare first and only edition of the first English grammar of the Sindhi language, the principal language of the province of Sindh in Pakistan, but also spoken by a large Sindhi minority elsewhere in Pakistan and neighbouring parts of India. In addition to the standard elements of grammar it includes handy phrases and dialogues with translations from Sindhi to English and English to Sindhi, and extensive vocabularies also translating in both directions, with an emphasis on commercial transactions. Although the book nowhere mentions the authors name, he has been identified as William Henry Wathen (1794/95-1866), chief secretary to the British government at Mumbai (Bombay) and a member of the Mumbai branch of the Royale Asiatic Society since 1821.
The lithographic pages include 32-character "alphabets" (to some degree syllabaries) of the "Multànì" or "Saràì" (Multani) and the "Khudàwàdì" (Khudabadi) script, each character with the Devanagari equivalent below and a transcription in the English pointed-pen script next to the Devanagari.
These parts are especially interesting because the British government largely ended the use of these scripts by supporting the use of Arabic scripts for Sindhi in 1853, so they are generally omitted in later grammars.
The folding lithographic map has no title or imprint, but appears to be contemporary. It gives toponyms in English, has a scale of 100 English miles (= 18 mm, giving a scale of about 1:90,000). It covers about 20-42° north latitude and 46-81° (at the head) or 49-78° (at the foot) east longitude.
With the name(?) "Ali Morad" or "Alimorad" and the letter "M" oddly but skilfully lettered in roman capitals in the fore-edge margin of p. 1, and two owners inscriptions on the title-page: "[Thomas] M[owbray] Baumgartner|lieut[enant] 83d Reg[imen]t|Kurrachee[?] [= Karachi] 1851" (also on the back paste-down: "Kuuachee[!] - 1850") and "Alex R Bagley[?]|8th Kings Reg[imen]t." (this regiment fought against the 1857 Indian Rebellion). Baumgartner (1824-1915) served in the military from 1845 to 1895, finally attaining the rank of General. He spent much of his career in Mumbai (Bombay) but was in Karachi with his regiment when he inscribed this book and also fought against the 1857 Indian Rebellion. With contemporary and/or near contemporary manuscript corrections and annotations in ink and possibly later pencilled notes. With some small ink spots (mostly in the foot margin of the last page of the English-Sindhi vocabulary), some foxing and browning (slight except in 4 leaves), an occasional small stain and a marginal hole restored in the first three leaves. The binding is somewhat worn at the extremities and the marbled paper shows some abrasions, but is well-preserved between them. Overall in good condition. WorldCat 46428052, 504661009, 1128388097 (9 copies?).
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Asia  >  India & Sri Lanka
Literature & linguistics  >  Literature & Linguistics