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Herbert Arthur Popley

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H.A. Popley at Erode

இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: எச்.ஏ.பாப்லி

Herbert Arthur Popley (October 31, 1878 - May 9, 1960) was a Tamil researcher. Popley was a Christian missionary and served at London Mission Society, Erode. Popley translated Tirukkural into English and composed Tamil Christian music in Carnatic style. Popley served as secretary in Coonoor Y.M.C.A.

Private Life

Herbert Arthur Popley was born on October 31, 1878 at Richmond in England. Popley finished B.A at London Borough of Hackney college. Popley came to India in 1890 as a missionary of the London Mission. Popley stayed at the London Mission Bungalow in Kanjikoil near Erode and steered religious work. In 1908, Popley married Lydia (Lesssie Miilda Bragg), daughter of a missionary preacher. Popley moved to Calcutta in 1916 and served as the national Y.M.C.A coordinator in Calcutta until 1932.

From 1933 to 1947, Popley again served as a preacher as well as school coordinator at the London Mission, Erode. Popley along with his predecessor A.W. Brough established 94 schools in Erode. On August 12, 1905, Popley along with his comrade Brough purchased 12.66 acres of land from the British government for the London Mission Society. Popley founded the London Mission School and its headquarters there. Along with W.T. M Clewes, Popley carried out the various works. From 1947 to 1960, Popley served as the Director of Coonoor Co-operative Urban Bank.

H.A. Popley at Coonoor

Literary Contributions

Popley was interested in Tamil and learnt Tamil methodically from his teachers. Popley also learnt Carnatic music thoroughly. At the request of J. N. Farquhar, editor of the Heritage of India Series, Calcutta, Popley translated Tirukkural into English verses and published it as book through Y.M.C.A Publishing House under the title The Sacred Kural or The Tamil Veda of Tiruvalluvar in 1931. In 1958, a revised second edition of the book was published. Out of the 511 couplets translated, 299 were from arathupal (virtue), 190 from porutpal (wealth) and 22 from inbathuppal (love). The second edition contains a detailed introductory section and includes explanatory notes quoting translators such as William Henry Drew, G.U. Pope, V.V. Subramania Aiyer and A. Chakravarti, in addition, comprises a list of various European language translations of Kural. Popley's other contribution was the book 'The Music of India', published in Heritage of India series, Calcutta.


For educational services, Popley along with J.T. Rajanayagam published a monthly magazine Naveena Kalvi (Modern Education)[1].


H.A. Popley

Popley passed away on May 9, 1960 at age of 81 years in Coonoor.


H.A. Popley was a pioneering Englishman who demonstrated interest in learning Tamil and translating Tamil works. Popley is among the ranks of Europeans from G.U. Pope to Thomas Pruiksma who translated ancient Tamil literatures.


  • The Sacred Kural or The Tamil Veda of Tiruvalluvar, Y.M.C.A, 1931.
  • K.T. Paul Christian Leader with foreword from Dr. John R. Mott
  • The Music of India, Heritage of India Series, Calcutta



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