All Indians love the learning we get from the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita (श्रीमद् भगवद् गीता), a historical classic text of Hinduism that carries in its womb the essence of life, karma, death, re-birth, detachment and dispassionate action.
Many curious minds find it a very mysterious text, full of newer learning each time we read it.
While researching on it, a very interesting fact I discovered was that the massive popularity that the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita (श्रीमद् भगवद् गीता) enjoys in the India of today is, strangely, courtesy the biggest colonial looters of India 'The British East India Company' (BEIC)!
Sir Charles Wilkins, born at Frome in Somerset (1749), came to India in 1770 serving the BEIC as a printer and writer. He was a great learner of languages and picked up Bengali and Persian, designed the first type for printing Bengali, and earned respect from the first de-facto Governer General of India Warren Hastings himself.
Wilkins then learned Sanskrit from a Brahmin at Varanasi, and his version of the Gita, published in 1785 as Bhagvat-geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoonchanged the way it was seen by Indian elite (many of whom did not know Sanskrit). Though Wilkins wrongly assumed that Gita was written to wean Hindus away from polytheism and towards monotheism (as the presence of only one supreme Godhead - Krishna - makes it appear). His translations became very famous, and were further translated into French and German.
Without him, perhaps the modern perception of many Hindus would have been a different mix. Since most Indians, except the hard-core Brahmins, never knew Sanskrit, the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita (श्रीमद् भगवद् गीता)would have remained a forlorn mystery for us for many more generations. So a big thanks to Wilkins for doing what we ourselves could not.
Jai Shri Krishna!