Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner

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Leitner, in native Indian costume exploring Dardistan

Professor Dr. Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner or Gottlieb William Leitner (14 October 1840 – 22 March 1899) was a British orientalist of Hungarian roots.

From a very early age, he was a brilliant linguist. He is said to have learnt some fifty languages by the age of eighteen, many of which he spoke fluently. At nineteen, he became lecturer in Arabic, Turkish and Modern Greek. At twenty-three, he was appointed Professor in Arabic and Muslim studies, at the King's College London.

In 1864, he was asked to become Principal of the new Government College Lahore in British India (now in Pakistan) and he accepted and went there. In 1882 he succeeded in helping establish the University of the Punjab. He dedicated himself fully to the study of the cultures of the Indian subcontinent. During this period he also helped establish many schools, libraries and literary associations in the Punjab region. He also travelled to a number of remote places such as Dardistan and Baltistan, and wrote several books.

He retired from educational service in India in 1886.