Major-General Charles Stuart (c. 1758 – 31 March 1828) was an officer in the East India Company Army and is well known for being one of the few British officers to embrace Hindu culture while stationed there, earning the nickname Hindoo Stuart. He was allegedly the son of Thomas Smyth (eldest son of Charles Smyth (1694–1783), MP for Limerick, and Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Prendergast, 1st Baronet). In his teens, Stuart left Ireland for India, where he remained for the rest of his life, embracing the Hindu culture and eventually earning his nickname. Starting as a cadet, he rose through the ranks to become a Major-General.
Major V. C. P. Hodson's biography of Stuart mentions that he "had studied the language, manners and customs of the natives of this country with so much enthusiasm, his intimacy with them ... obtained for him the name of Hindoo Stuart".
Stuart adopted several Hindu customs, including bathing in the Ganges at Calcutta every morning, amassing a collection of deities as well as Indian clothes. He even encouraged European ladies in India to adopt the sari (through "frequent and vigorous" contributions to the daily Calcutta Telegraph in the year 1800) and Indian sepoys to wear full mustaches on parade. His commander-in-chief "ticked him off" due to his partiality towards sepoys sporting "Rajput mustaches or brightly colored caste marks on their foreheads".
|Hindoo Stewart's Tomb|
Stuart died on 31 March 1828 and was buried with his idols at the South Park Street Cemetery in Calcutta, in a tomb which took the form of a Hindu temple.
Two other epitaphs typical of the cemetery: