Dining alone in Rawalpindi? Max Arthur Macauliffe: Sikh scholar, reformer, and evangelist

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Foley, Tadhg
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ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork
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Max Arthur Macauliffe, originally Michael McAuliffe (1838-1913), Indian Civil Servant, judge, and Sikh scholar, was born in Glenmore, Monagea, Co. Limerick, Ireland. He graduated from Queen's College Galway in 1860 and began his colonial career in India in 1864. He became Assistant Commissioner and Judicial Assistant in the Punjab, then Deputy Commissioner, and finally a Divisional Judge. Born a Catholic, when he lived in Amritsar Macauliffe became deeply interested in the Sikh religion. He learned the languages of the Sikh scripture, the Adi Granth, and did the classic translation of major parts of it into English. In 1909 the Clarendon Press published his celebrated work, The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors, in six volumes. He saw his translation as pioneering in that he collaborated closely with indigenous Sikh scholars and he committed to writing what had previously been orally communicated. Macauliffe was an erastian in his belief that the Sikh religion should be subject to the state which, in turn, had a duty to support it. In his unceasing quest for official sponsorship, he emphasised the advantages of Sikhism to the state but he was bitterly disappointed in his failure. He began his masterpiece in missionary mode: 'I bring from the East what is practically an unknown religion', and he had a central role in propagating the Tat Khalsa interpretation of Sikhism in the west. He had serious difficulties in his professional career and major scandals in his personal life. However, Macauliffe died a wealthy man.
Macauliffe , Sikhs , Adi Granth , Colonial , Tat Khalsa , Singh Sabha , Amritsar , Ireland , Kahn Singh Nabha
FOLEY, T. 2017. Dining alone in Rawalpindi? Max Arthur Macauliffe: Sikh scholar, reformer, and evangelist. Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 4(1), 7-32.
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(c)2017, The Author(s).