Exhibition to commemorate Russia's first Indologist
Moscow, Jan 20 (RIA Novosti) Yaroslavl
is a beautiful old city, 230
km north of Moscow.
Its History Museum is hosting an exhibition in
memory of Gerasim Lebedev,
the first Russian scholar of Indian culture and history.
with the Year of Russia in India,
it is a joint project of the Yaroslavl
the Orion Roerich Society and the Jawaharlal Nehru
Cultural Centre, affiliated to the Indian embassy in the Russian Federation.
(1749-1817) was Russia's
first Oriental scholar and the first to introduce India to Russian and European Orientologists as a research subject.
life was something of a picaresque novel, so popular with readers in his
lifetime - a sequence of adventures and scholarly expeditions. He lived through
fat and lean years, for a moment in abject poverty and in the next moment
scanty education received in childhood, he was a self-made man if there ever
was one, and excelled in many professions.
«Lebedev could have made a fine professional singer, cello
player or virtuoso violinist. While abroad, he set up a legendary quartet that
impressed sophisticated West European music lovers and don't forget his fluency
in dozens of European languages», - says Vladimir Izvekov,
director of the Yaroslavl History
exhibition reveals genuine documents pertaining to Lebedev's
life, his scholarly books and Russian and Indian books about him.
timing to the Year of Russia in India
is a symbolical tribute of Yaroslavl to one of its people,
who did so much for Indian studies,' Izvekov said at
the opening reception.
scholarly works came from Lebedev's pen. The pride of
place belonged to the monograph 'An Unbiased Contemplation of Eastern India,
its Holy Rites and Folk Customs'. It was an 18th century encyclopaedia
a country known only from hearsay and fabulous accounts before.
Lebedev laid the foundation of
scientific studies of India.
He deservedly regarded it as the cradle of the world civilisation.
was the first land to disseminate the human race all about the globe, as many
ethnologists testify,' he wrote.
excellent researcher, musician and stage performer all in one, Lebedev established the first European-style stage company
as he lived there in 1785-97. He translated the best-known European dramas into
Bengali and compiled several linguistic study books. Once back in Russia, he
published a Bengali-Russian dictionary.
India cherishes the
memory of the first Western researcher to study it. Calcutta,
for one, has a Gerasim
© «Malaysia Sun», Saturday 19th January, 2008 (IANS)