Stewart, Charles

Stewart, Charles (1764-1837) orientalist and an officer of the Bengal army. In Bengal historiography, Stewart is taken as a pioneer historian in the professional sense. Charles Stewart retired from the Bengal Infantry in 1803 as a Major and then joined wellesley's newly established fort william college as an Assistant Professor of Persian language. In 1807, he joined the East India College at Haileybury, Hertfordshire, as a Professor of Oriental Languages. He worked at haileybury college until 1826. It is to be noted that all his oriental studies were accomplished after his retirement from his Indian career.

Among the contemporary Orientalists his History of Bengal: From the First Muhammadan Invasion until the Virtual Conquest of that Country by the English AD 1757, London 1813 is, in fact, the first rigorously researched and interpretative work. Stewart is also remembered for his Descriptive Catalogue of the Oriental Library of the Late Tipu Sultan, with Memoirs of Hyder Ali (Cambridge 1809). Proficient in Persian and Hindi, Stewart very successfully translated the celebrated travel account in 3 vols (in Persian) of mirza abu taleb khan who visited Britain and Europe in the closing years of the eighteenth century. The translation made western readers aware of the oriental perception of the west. [Sirajul Islam]