Lebedev, Gerasim Stepanovich
Born 1749, in Yaroslavl’; died July 15 (27), 1817, in St. Petersburg. The first Russian indologist.
From 1785 to 1797, Lebedev lived in Madras and Calcutta. He founded India’s first European-style theater (1795–96), where two plays translated by him from English into Bengali were performed. In 1801 he published in London a grammar of the Hindustani language. Four years later in St. Petersburg he published An Objective Description of the Systems of East Indian Brahmans, Their Sacred Rituals and Folk Customs, which contained information about India’s culture, economy, geography, and castes. Lebedev died before publishing a number of his manuscripts (a Bengali grammar, a treatise on Indian arithmetic), and some of them have been lost. Lebedev was the first Russian to study Sanskrit and one of the Dravidian languages.
REFERENCESVorob’ev-Desiatovskii, V. S. “Russkii indianist G. S. Lebedev (1749–1817).” In Ocherki po istorii russkogo vostokovedeniia, collection 2. Moscow, 1956.
Gamaiunov, L. S. “Iz istorii izucheniia Indii v Rossii: K voprosu o deiatel’nosti G. S. Lebedeva.” Ocherki po istorii russkogo vostokovedeniia, collection 2. Moscow, 1956.