|Charles Philip Brown|
10 November 1798|
12 December 1884|
|Education||Indian Civil Service|
|Literary movement||Collection of Telugu books|
|Notable works||Telugu dictionary|
Charles Philip Brown (10 November 1798 - 12 December 1884) was a British official of the East India Company. He worked in what is now Andhra Pradesh, and became an important scholarly figure in Telugu language literature.
Telugu literature was in a dormant phase in the 18th century, for a number of social and political reasons: a lack of creative Telugu poets, prevailing illiteracy, and the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire, patrons of the literature. Brown as official in the region collected and edited works. He believed he had saved the heritage of the Telugu language. In his own words,
Charles Brown was born in Calcutta on 10 November 1798. His father David Brown was a manager of an orphanage and a missionary and scholar in many languages including Sanskrit. Charles Brown moved back to England in 1812 after his father's death, to obtain training from Haileybury College for a civil service position in India. He returned to Madras on 4 August 1817 
In 1820, Thomas Munro, governor of Madras had ordered that every official should learn a local language. Brown chose Telugu, under the guidance of Velagapudi Kodandarama Panthulu, and passed a Telugu examination as well as the civil service examination that year. He became deputy to John Hanbury, the collector of Cuddapah. Hanbury was fluent in Telugu and Brown continued to study. He was transferred to Machilipatnam in 1822 and then to Rajahmundry in 1825. Moved to Guntur at the beginning of the famine of 1832-3, he employed active methods, while dealing with sceptical superiors in Madras.
Brown was relieved from his duties in 1834. He went back to London and stayed there from 1835 to 1838. Brown returned to Madras again in 1837 as a translator of Persian for the East India Company and joined as a member of the Madras College Board. He retired in 1854 because of health reasons and went back to London again. He worked at London University as Telugu Professor for some time.
While Brown concentrated on Telugu, he was a polyglot. Other languages he knew were: Greek, Latin, Persian, Sanskrit. He supported Telugu in three ways: he produced his own works, he recovered and discovered old works and he printed books in Telugu. He financed himself and sometimes borrowed to do so. He established two free schools in Cuddapah, and two more in Machilipattanam.
Brown's interests turned to Vemana's writings in 1824. He studied Telugu meter and grammar under the guidance of Venkatasivasastri Tippabhatla and Advaitabrahmasastri Vatthyam. He continued his study of Telugu literature in Rajahmundry from 1825. He collected rare manuscripts of Telugu Kavyas (poems), and had them copied. He also collected essays, stories, and poems that existed as an oral literature. During his stay in London from 1835, he was employed by Horace Hayman Wilson in cataloguing South Indian Languages manuscripts from the East India House Library. Ultimately many of those were sent back to Madras. Friedrich August Rosen encouraged his work on Telegu prosody, and had Brown's essay on it published in the Asiatic Journal. There Brown advocated a more incisive approach, less reliant on Indian traditions, and levelled some criticisms at the old school of Henry Colebrooke, Sir William Jones and William Yates. He published in the Madras Journal of Literature and Science, on Colin Mackenzie's manuscript collection from 1838 to 1848.
He had prepared commentaries for all of the published works so that non-scholars can understand them. Some of the publishings sponsored by him are:
He also left many press ready copies like Basavapurana, PanDitaaraadhya Charitra, Ranganaatha Ramayanam, 'Uttara Raamaayanam, Vijaya Vilasam, Sarangadhara Charitra, Hari Vamsam, Kasi Khandam, Aniruddha Charitra, Kuchelopakhyaanam, Radhika Santvanam, Vikramaarka charitra etc. They were published by different institutions in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh after his death.
He also collected poems of Sumathi Satakam and Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy published it in 1973 acknowledging him. This is similar to Vemana Satakam that Brown published.
He collected the stories and poems of common people and published them first. Though he was less interested in pedantic works, he also published many major Telugu works along with translations written by him or other copiers closely monitored by him. He prepared an index, a glossary and commentaries to all the works. Brown mentioned that the purpose of the commentary was to make the poems to be understood clearly without oral instructions. He also included many spoken words in his dictionary.
There is no concrete evidence that Brown introduced any more than Sandhi breaks for the Telugu alphabet. The 1906 Linguistics Survey of India does not credit Brown for change in alphabets or making it easy for pronunciation.
He died in 1884 on 12 December at the age of eighty-seven. He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery (The General Cemetery of All Souls) in London.