Monday, 29 December 2008

Michael Arthur Macauliffe

Michael MacAuliffe, also known as Max Arthur Macauliffe (10 September 1841 - 15 March 1913), was a senior British administrator in India, who converted to Sikhism. He was a prolific scholar and author. Macauliffe is also known for his translation of sikh scripture and history into English. MacAuliffe was born at Newcastle West, County Limerick, and was educated at Newcastle School, Limerick, and Springfield College. He attended Queen's College Galway between 1857 and 1863, where he was awarded junior scholarships in the Literary Division of the Arts Faculty for 1857-8, 1858-9, and 1859-60. He recieved a B.A. degree with first class honours in Modern Languages in 1860. He obtained a senior scholarship in Ancient Classics for 1860-1, and a senior scholarship in Modern Languages and History for 1861-2. MacAuliffe entered the Indian Civil Service in 1862, and arrived in the Punjab in February 1864. He was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Punjab in 1882, and became a Divisional Judge in 1884. He retired from the Indian Civil Service in 1893.

MacAuliffe wrote the definitive English translation of the Sacred Book of the Sikh religion, the Guru Granth Sahib. He also wrote The Sikh Religion: its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors (six volumes, Oxford University Press, 1909). He was assisted in his works by Pratap Singh Giani, a Sikh scholar. Macauliffe converted to Sikhism in the 1860s and was even derided by his British employers for having "turned a Sikh". His personal assistant remarked in his memoirs that on his death bed, Macauliffe could be heard reciting the Sikh morning prayer, Japji, ten minutes before passing away. At a lecture in Lahore he stated that the Guru Granth Sahib was matchless as a book of holy teachings. You can read the complete volume 1 of Max's brilliant The Sikh Religion (1909) by following this link

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know that MacAuliffe converted to Sikhism. Wow, thanks for highlighting this.. it's made my day.