Indian Institute

The Indian Institute in central Oxford, England is located at the north end of Catte Street on the corner with Holywell Street and facing down Broad Street from the east. [cite web|url=,_England|title=1911 Encyclopedia reference on Indian Institute|accessdate=2007-03-02] Sir Monier Monier-Williams started the Institute at Oxford in 1883 to provide training for the Indian Civil Services. [cite web|url=|title=From the extract of "Kelly's directory" for 1900.|accessdate=2007-03-02]


In June 1881, plans were submitted to the University of Oxford's Hebdomadal Council to build an Indian Institute. The original site was occupied by four old buildings. The building was designed by Basil Champneys. Originally there was a low shop to the south, but Hertford College has now encroached on the Institute with a much taller building.

Indian Institute Library

The Indian Institute Library opened in 1886. It is a dependent library of the Bodleian Library, the main library of the University. It specialises in the history and culture of South Asia, especially the Himalayas and Tibet. [Bodleian Library: Department of Oriental Collections: 'Indian Institute Library',, accessed 2007-02-14.] The library was formerly located in the Indian Institute building, but is now close by, on the top floor of the New Bodleian Library.Along with the library, the institute contained lecture rooms and a museum. Some contents of the museum are now present in the Ashmolean.The original Indian Institute building is now the Modern History Faculty of the University of Oxford.

The building

The Indian Institute was first designed by Basil Champneys, sometime during 1885.The building was built of Milton stone in the style of the English Renaissance, with different oriental details to the designs of Basil Champneys. In 1974, Nikolaus Pevsner indicated that the rounded corner cupola would make an excellent point de vue at the east end of Broad Street.

Accusations of racism

The building was financed entirely by private donors in India and Britain, for the sole purpose of constructing an edifice to house study for and on the Indian sub-continent. There was consequently great controversy in 1968, when the University's governing council evicted the Indian Institute from the premises without compensation, and then made a gift of the premises to the History Faculty, which specialises in European history to the exclusion of Indian history. The government of India filed a formal protest on behalf of the families of the original donors, who felt defrauded by the University's actions. The Oxford University Student Union went further still, accusing the University administration of racism in the decision.

The Institute's aim

The aim of the Indian Institute was::"The work of fostering and facilitating Indian studies in the University; the work of making Englishmen, and even Indians themselves, appreciate better than they have done before the languages, literature and industries of India." [cite web|url=|title=Aim of the Indian Institute|accessdate=2007-03-02]

ee also

* University of Oxford
* Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
* Hertford College


External links

* [ Old Indian Institute] , Broad Street, Oxford (including photographs)
* [ Indian Studies at Oxford] from the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
* [ Indian Institute Library] now in the Bodleian Library
* [ The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies]

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