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Sir George Abraham Grierson
Born 1851
Died 1941

Sir George Abraham Grierson OM KCIE (7 January 1851, Glenageary, County Dublin, Ireland – 9 March 1941, Camberley, Surrey, England, United Kingdom) was born to a prominent Dublin family in 1851. His father and grandfather, both also named George, were well-known printers and publishers.



Educated at St. Bees School, Cumberland and Trinity College, Dublin, he joined the Indian Civil Service in 1871 and reached the Bengal Presidency in 1873. He would eventually become Magistrate and Collector at Patna and, later, Opium Agent for Bihar. In 1898 he was appointed Superintendent of the newly formed Linguistic Survey of India and moved to England "for convenience of consulting European libraries and scholars",[1]

Grierson published scholarly works throughout his career: on the dialects and peasant life of Bihar, on Hindi literature, on bhakti, and on linguistics.

His contemporaries noted his lack of sympathy for Advaita Vedanta, which he regarded as "pandit religion" but noted his "warm appreciation of the monotheistic devotion of the country folk".[2] Grierson had thought that bhakti stemmed from contact with Christian communities but later admitted that Indian bhakti was older than Christianity, without ruling out later Christian influence.

Most of Grierson's later work deals with linguistics. In a celebratory account of his life, F.W. Thomas and R.L. Turner refer to the extensive publications of the Linguistic Survey of India as "a great Imperial museum, representing and systematically classifying the linguistic botany of India".[3]


In 1928 Grierson was appointed to the Order of Merit (OM).[4]

He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE).


  • Grierson, George Abraham. Bihar Peasant Life, Being a Discursive Catalogue of the Surroundings of the People of That Province, With Many Illustrations From Photographs Taken By the Author. Prepared Under Orders of the Government of Bengal. Calcutta, The Bengali Secretariat Press, & London, Trübner & Co., (1885); Cosmo (1998) ISBN 8170201853
  • Grierson, George Abraham. Seven Grammars of the Dialects and Subdialects of the Bihari Language (1883–87) 3 vols. ISBN 8178354519
  • Grierson George Abraham, Linguistic Survey of India, 11 Vols. in 19 Parts Delhi, Low Price Publ. (2005) ISBN 8175363614
  • Grierson, George Abraham. A Dictionary of the Kashmiri Language. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1932.
  • Lalla-Vakyani, Sir George Grierson and Dr. Lionel D. Barnett Litt. D., R. A. S. monograph, Vol. XVII, London 1920.
  • ———. 1909. Gleanings from the Bhakta-Mala. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society: 607-644.
  • ———. 1910a. Gleanings from the Bhakta-Mala. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society: 269-306.
  • ———. 1910b. Gleanings from the Bhakta-Mala. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society: 87-109.


  1. ^ Thomas and Turner n.d., 3
  2. ^ Thomas and Turner n.d., 11
  3. ^ n.d., 18
  4. ^ The Lost Scholars of Kashmir


  • Thomas, F.W., and R.L. Turner. 1941. George Abraham Grierson 1851-1941. London: Humphrey Milford Amen House, E.C.

External links

  1. Banglapedia
  2. George Abraham Grierson (1973). Linguistic survey of India. Motilal Banarsidass.  
  3. Photos of Sir George Grierson
  4. ~ King's Printers to Ireland


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