Francois Bernier [1620 - 1688]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 30, 2022, 15:12

Francois Bernier was a French physician and traveller who lived from September 25, 1620, until September 22, 1688. He was born in Joue-Etiau, in the province of Anjou. He spent about 12 years in India (14 October 1658 - 20 February 1670).

Life of Francois Bernier

Francois Bernier visited Egypt and India, where he served as the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's physician. He returned to France and wrote the well-received Travels in Moghul India, joining a circle that included Racine and Boileau. The foundation for his anonymous essay was laid by observations made during his stay in India.

He met the defeated Prince Dara Shikoh and became acquainted with the Mughal emperors on his way from Surat to Agra. Dara needed to find a doctor for his wife. Bernier's skill to cure the princess's agony so delighted Dara Shikoh that he chose him as his physician.

Bernier Lived at Aurangzeb's court for twelve years, eventually becoming the Royal family's physician and interacting with scholars and nobility alike. Histories de la derniere Revolution des Etats du Grand Mogul (Travels in the Mughal Empire), published in 1670, was a distillation of his time at the Mughal court.

He wrote against astrology and was linked with Pierre Gassendi, a notable philosopher and rival of Descartes, from the early 1640s. Bernier's long reputation in French society, on the other hand, was founded on his work as a traveller. In 1648, he paid for a journey to Poland. He left France in 1656, spent a year in Cairo, and then set out for India.

Francois Bernier was hailed for being a philosophe' who travels. His novels on the Mughal Empire, in particular, are a winning combination of engaging narrative and sociological insight.

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Francois Bernier - Achievements & Influential Works

Francois Bernier anonymously published new partition of the globe' in the famous Journal des Sqavans in 1684 can be considered the beginning' of the long and convoluted intellectual trajectory of modern racial thought. Francois Bernier created a full-fledged historical race theory.

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In his philosophical writings, he praised the Indians' intellectual sophistication, both Muslim and Hindu, as well as their preference for scientific thinking. He, on the other hand, had nothing but scorn for the Hindu and Muslim faith and philosophy. According to Bernier, some of the Hindu pundits' most educated told him that the fantastic stories of Hindu mythology were really really legislators' inventions to preserve the religious mood of the people.

Francois Bernier was a philosopher and a traveller who spent his time travelling to different locations and collecting information about each location. He was known for his stay in India under the Mughals.

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FAQs on Francois Bernier

Q1. What was Francois Bernier known for?

Francois Bernier's work New Division of the Earth by the Different Species or Races that Inhabit It," written in 1684, is widely regarded as the earliest known post-Classical classification of mankind into distinct races.

Q2. When did Francois Bernier arrive in India?

Between 1656 and 1668, French physician Francois Bernier (1626-1688) travelled to India. For historians of Mughal India, his travel narrative is a valuable resource.

Q3. Why did Francois Bernier come to India?

Francois Bernier's trip to Abyssinia was diverted to India, and he appears to have arrived there by chance. He took sail for India in 1658 and arrived in Surat.

Q4. How was the Mughal Empire viewed by Francois Bernier?

Bernier witnessed the Mughal Empire: its king was a king of beggars and barbarians, its cities and towns were wrecked and polluted with foul air, and its fields were overgrown with bushes and full of pestilential swamps.