by Sir William Wilson Hunter
Brian Houghton Hodgson was born on February 1, 1800. His family had troubles financially, but through Hodgson’s aptitude and some family connections, he was able to continue his studies. He was especially gifted in learning languages, namely Bengali, but also Sanskrit and Persian. In 1818, with the British East India Company, Hodgson traveled to India. He held various political posts, but arguable his passion was for research and writing, particularly on Buddhist manuscripts. He was also interested in natural history. Hodgson catalogued numerous species of animals native to the area, including ollectng over 10,000 skins and specimens for the British Museum.
Hodgson was in a long-term relationship with Mehrunnisha, a local Muslim woman, and had two children. They were sent to live in Holland with Hodgson’s sister, Ellen, also known as Fanny, but neither child made it into adulthood. Mehrunnisha died in 1843. Hodgson would marry twice more before dying in London on May 23, 1894.