Telugu Bible History (3)

**List: Telugu Ministry

Bible ( బైబిల్ )


THE Telinga language is spoken within 23 miles of Madras, and prevails for about 500 miles along
the coast, from the vicinity of Pulicat to the borders of Orissa.   In the interior it extends as
far west as Beedr, through nearly the whole of Hydrabad, a part of Berar, and the eastern provinces
of Mysore.   The portion of the Telinga country subject to the Madras presidency includes the five
Circars--Vizagapatam, Kajahmundry, Masulipatam, Guntoor, and the Cuddapah and Nellore districts
of the Carnatic.   The superficial extent of the entire region in which this language is predominant has
been estimated at 118,610 square miles.   The natives are Hindoos, and number about 10,000,000.
The Telinga language is also diffused to a greater or less extent through various countries of Southern
India, in which the Tamul and Canarese are the proper vernacular languages.   This diffusion in part
arises from the early conquests, dating from the fourteenth century, achieved by the people of Telinga
in the south.   Like the Romans, they endeavoured to secure their conquests, and to keep the natives
in subjection by the establishment of military colonies; and the Telinga language is still spoken by the
descendants of the Telinga families, who were deputed by the kings of Vidianagara to found these
colonies.   The roaming tendencies of the Telinga people also serve to account in part for the diffusion
of the language.   On this subject the mies. have remarked that "in intelligence, migratory
habits, secular prosperity, and unfrequency of return to their native land, this people are, in relation
to other parts of India, what the Scotch are in relation to England and the world."


   Telinga is the softest and the most polished of the languages of Southern India, and contains the

greatest proportion of Sanscrit words.   In point of fulness, it may be styled the "Spanish" of the
Indian peninsula.   Yet the Sanscrit terms with which it unquestionably abounds form no part whatever
of the basis of the language, but appear to have been engrafted on the elements of the original Telinga
at some period far too remote for inquiry.   The grammatical construction of Telinga is alone sufficient
to prove that it has no claims to be regarded as a mere Sanscrit dialect.   In the declension of its nouns
effected by means of subjoined particles, in the mode of conjugating the affirmative, and in the posses-
sion of a negative verb, in the use of a plural pronoun applicable to the first and second persons con-
jointly, and in the peculiarities of its syntax, it offers obvious points of deviation from the forms of
Sanscrit grammar, while at the same time it exhibits decided affinity in these respects with its cognate
languages of the Deccan.   The Telinga language possesses no word exactly corresponding with our
article; the indefinite article is sometimes expressed by means of the numeral one, but in general the
article is considered as inherent in the noun.   Like the Tamul and Canarese, the Telinga possesses
that singular part of speech called the relative participle, which displays the combined force of the
definite article, the relative pronoun, and the verb.   It also resembles these languages in the possession
of two dialects, the common or popular medium, used for all purposes of business and conversation,
and the high or refined dialect, in which the literature of the nation, consisting chiefly of poetry, is
written.   The dissimilarity between these dialects is so great, that commentaries are requisite in the
perusal of native works, even in the case of individuals who have acquired the most complete familiarity
with the colloquial dialect.
   The Telinga possesses great facility in the naturalization of foreign terms; yet, with the exception
of a few words obtained from the neighbouring provinces of Orissa, Mahratta, and Gujerat, it does not
appear to borrow many words from foreign sources.   Several technical revenue and official terms
derived from the Hindustani were at one time in common use, but they now begin to be superseded
by the corresponding English words.   The Telinga, like other Indian alphabets, is distinguished by
the perplexing multiplicity of its symbols, of which there are no less than eighty-one: some of these,
however, are merely abbreviated forms of the regular initial letters; others are only used as marks for
certain consonants when doubled; and some are peculiar to words of Sanscrit origin.   "Hence," says
Mr. Campbell, "all native grammarians concur in reducing the characters to thirty-seven, by excluding
forty-four, which they acknowledge belong to the language, but which they will not admit into the
  In point of form these letters are round and flowing, and form a striking contrast to the
square characters of the Devanagari, although arranged upon the same principle of classification.


   Schultze, the laborious Danish my., was the first who engaged in a Telinga version of the
Scriptures.   He commenced his translation in 1726, immediately after his completion of the Tamul
version above mentioned.   He translated immediately from the Greek and Hebrew texts, and finished
the Telinga version of the New Testament in 1727, and of the Old Testament in 1732.   From some
cause or other hitherto unexplained, this work was never printed, although Schultze seems to have
taken some steps towards obtaining the assistance of a learned Brahmin, and a fount of types for the
purpose.   He died in 1760 at Halle, and it has been thought that his Telinga MSS. may still be pre-
served in that city.   The Serampore mies. commenced another version of the Scriptures in this
language in 1805, and in 1809 they had translated the whole of the New and part of the Old Testa-
ment.   Soon afterwards they succeeded in casting a fount of Telinga types, but owing to various
causes of delay, the New Testament was not printed till 1818, when an edition of 1000 copies was
issued, aided by a grant from the British and Foreign Bible Society; and in 1820, the same number
of copies of the Pentateuch were published.

   But while this Serampore version was in progress, another Telinga version of the New Testa-
ment was commenced and carried on to the close of the First Epistle to the Corinthians by the Rev.
Augustus Desgranges, of the London My. Society.   He had been stationed at Vizagapatam since

1805, and therefore enjoyed great local facilities for the prosecution of his undertaking: he found,
indeed, but few difficulties in the Telinga language to impede his efforts, and he remarked that "this
language richly furnishes the translator with words, phrases, and sentences for his purpose;"
and that in
addition to its acknowledged softness, elegance and refinement, it is "regular in construction, replete
with sentences clear and strong, and abounding with the most beautiful figures of speech."
Desgranges was assisted by the Rev. George Cran, who was also stationed at Vizagapatam, and by
Anunderayer, a Telinga Brahmin of high caste, who had sincerely embraced the Christian religion.
What our Lord Jesus requires from his followers, Anunderayer had really done, for he had left his
wife, mother, brother, sister, his estate and property, and had suffered reproach and persecution patiently
for the sake of the Gospel.   Having acquired an intimate knowledge of the Tamul language, he
translated the Scriptures direct from the Tamul version into his own language, and his work was
submitted, verse by verse, to Mr. Desgranges, who made such alterations as his critical knowledge of
the original text suggested.   Mr. Cran died in 1808, and Mr. Desgranges two years subsequently; and
it was found on examination that the first three Gospels were the only portions of the translation that
were in a state of readiness for the press.   Of these three Gospels, 1000 copies were printed at
Serampore in 1812, under the care of Anunderayer.   No alterations whatever were admitted, for it
was considered that to give the Gospels as the able translator had left them
would be a tribute of
respect to his memory.
   In the meantime another version of the Telinga New Testament had been commenced.   The
Rev. Messrs. Pritchett and Lee, agents of the London My. Society, arrived at Vizagapatam a
short time prior to the decease of the lamented Mr. Desgranges.   Mr. Lee undertook soon afterwards
a translation of the Book of Genesis, but the preparation of the version afterwards devolved almost
exclusively on Mr. Pritchett, who addressed himself in the first place to the translation of the New
Testament.   In the first three Gospels he is said to have availed himself of the labours of Mr. Desgranges,
introducing such alterations as his own judgment suggested.   When the version of the New Testament
was completed, he sent it to Madras for examination, and it was so highly approved by the distinguished
Telinga scholars to whom it was submitted, that the Madras Bible Society readily closed with Mr.
Pritchett’s proposal to print it for the benefit of the Telinga nation.   An edition of 2000 copies was
therefore issued in 1819, the expenses of which were defrayed by the Calcutta Bible Society.   Mr.
Pritchett was proceeding with the translation of the Old Testament, when, in 1820
, he was stopped in
the midst of his work by death.
   In 1823 another version of the Scriptures was offered to the Calcutta Bible Society by the Rev. J.
Gordon, also of the London My. Society, who had during many years been stationed at Vizagapatam.
Great difficulty was experienced in deciding upon the relative merits of Mr. Pritchett’s and Mr. Gordon’s
translations, and all printing operations were suspended until it could be ascertained which was best
calculated for general usefulness.   At length their respective translations of Genesis and of the history
of Joseph were circulated for comparison, and when the opinions of competent judges had been col-
lected, it was found that the result of the investigation was in favour of Mr. Gordon’s production, which
was unanimously declared to be "clear, intelligible, and the more literal translation of the two."   At
the same time Mr. Pritchett’s was pronounced a good translation, and more grammatical than Mr.
Gordon’s, but deficient in idiom.   The Committee of the Madras Society, therefore, resolved upon
adopting Mr. Gordon’s version, but they requested him before he sent it to the press, to compare it
carefully with Mr. Pritchett’s translation, and "to select therefrom whatever he might think a desirable
acquisition to his own."
  Mr. Gordon’s important labours
were closed by death in 1827.   After his
decease it was found that Mr. Pritchett’s version was, after all, more correct than had been expected;
certain corrections were accordingly introduced, and an edition of 3000 copies of the New Testament
was printed in 1828, accompanied by 2000 copies of Mr. Gordon’s version of St. Luke.   Vigorous
efforts were subsequently made to revise the versions prepared by Messrs. Pritchett and Gordon, and
further portions were printed, which, notwithstanding their admitted defects, obtained such extensive

circulation as to warrant the hope that they were perused with profit.   An edition of 3000 copies of
the Old Testament, based upon the version of Pritchctt and Gordon, issued from the Madras press in
1855, together with large editions of particular portions of the Teloogoo Scriptures, both of the Old and
of the New Testaments.

   Up to the present time the Madras Committee have been still persevering in their endeavours to
procure an acceptable and faithful version of the Teloogoo Scriptures.   The work, however, has advanced
but slowly.   Portions of the New Testament had been completed under the joint care of the Reverends
Messrs. Wardlaw and Hay, but the printing of them was deferred, owing to a difference of opinion
that rose among the members of the committee respecting some of the rules laid down for the guidance
of the translators.   From recent Reports of the Bible Society, we learn that the Teloogoo Revision
Committee appointed in 1856 have completed a new translation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Romans,
Colossians, and Philemon, and of the general Epistles of St. James, St. John, and St. Jude; together
with the Four Gospels and Acts; all of which are ready for the press.   Among other revised editions
of portions of the New Testament issued by the Madras Committee from time to time, may be men-
tioned an edition of 1000 copies of the Gospel of St. Luke, translated by one of the first of Teloogoo
scholars, C. P. Brown, Esq., son of the late Rev. David Brown, and printed about the year 1839.
Mr. Brown has subsequently completed a translation of the entire Bible into Teloogoo, and has de-
posited this version with the Madras Auxiliary; extracts from different portions of the work are being
printed, with a view to their circulation for the opinions and criticisms of Teloogoo scholars."
--1860   S. Bagster   [Info only]

THE TELINGA VERSION, from the New Testament by the Serampore Mies.   Serampore--1860   S. Bagster   [Info only: {Telugu} Character   "1818" John 1:1-6 unknown.]

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