The Papers of Ram Gharib Chaube

Scope and Content

This is a set of Indian Religious Songs collected, transcribed and translated into English by Ram Gharib Chaube, probably for the use of William Crooke.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ram Gharib Chaube was probably born in the late 1850s into the traditional learned Chaube family. He graduated from the Presidency College, Calcutta, and was learned in both Indian tradition and the British colonial system of education, being fluent in dialects of Awadhi and Bhojpuri, as well as Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit and English. He became Mirzapur's distirct collector of revenues and whilst there met William Crooke, who was keen to document Indian folklore. Impressed with Chaube's abilities, Crooke asked that Chaube help in his work. Chaube probably continued to work with Crooke until Crooke's departure for England in 1896. The material in these papers, therefore most likely dates from this time. Crooke continued to correspond with Chaube after his return to England. However he does not seem to have acknowledged Chaube's contribution to his work.

After Crooke's departure Chaube also worked for V.A. Smith, and G.A. Grierson's Linguistic Survey of India. However he constantly struggled to earn enough money and satisfy his academic interests. He died in 1914 in Gopalpur.

The life of Crooke and Rame Gharib Chaube has been well documented in In Quest of Indian Folktales: Pandit Ram Gharib Chaube and William Crooke by Sadhana Naithani (Indian University Press, 2006) from which these biographical details have been obtained.


Three series of material were arranged according to the headings under which the material was found:

  • RGC/1 - Religious Songs in Romanized Hindi
  • RGC/2 - Religious Songs from Northern India
  • RGC/3 - Uncategorised Songs
  • RGC/4 - Original Folder

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

It is unknown how these Papers came to be in the possession of the Royal Asiatic Society. Possibly Crooke was seeking publication or had lent the material to George A. Grierson.

Archivist's Note

The Catalogue was created by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2018.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

It is assumed that this material was once in the possession of William Crooke. Most of his Papers are in the archive of the Folklore Society, held at University College, London,

Related Material

The Library holds a copy of In Quest of Indian Folktales: Pandit Ram Gharib Chaube and William Crooke by Sadhana Naithana. It also holds several of William Crooke's publications. These can be found on our Online catalogue .

Geographical Names