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An early grammar of western Hindi, or Brij Bhasha

Ballantyne, James Robert Elements of Hindi and Braj Bhakha grammar. Compiled for the use of the East-India College at Haileybury. Edinburgh sold by J. Madden and Co., C. Smith, and at the Military Academy 1839
First edition. 4to, 29 x 23 cm; pp.iv, 38; 1 lithographic plate. Text with printed devanagari characters. A very good copy in contemporary cloth, corners a bit bumped. A few inoffensive marks to lower board. Partly unopened.

An early grammar of Braj Bhasha, the principal dialect of Western Hindi spoken in the Braj region; intended for the use of the students at the East India Company's College at Haileybury, and to expose them to Devanagari rather than nasta'liq characters. It is only an outline grammar, meant to introduce the student to a more comprehensive text, such as Shakespear's A grammar of the Hindustani language (3rd edition, London, 1826). Ballantyne draws his examples from the forms of the language found in the Prem-sagar and "other standard works of Hindi literature". The Prem-sagar ("The Ocean of Love") was composed between 1804 and 1810 by Lalluji Lal, a scholar recruited to the College of Fort William by John Borthwick Gilchrist. It was written in a Sanskritized and deliberately 'de-Persianized' form of the language to produce a recognizably 'Hindu style' of Urdu. The lithographic plate depicts the modifications necessary to Devanagari characters to produce sounds found only in Arabic and Persian. James Robert Ballantyne taught at the Scottish Naval and Military Academy before moving to India in 1845 to become Superintendent of the Sanskrit College at Benares. This had been established in 1791 to foster Hindu culture, a counterpoint to the Calcutta Madrasa which, since 1780, had taught Arabic, Persian and Urdu. When ill-health forced Ballantyne to return to Britain in 1861 he was appointed Librarian of the India Office.