• Who was Sake Dean Mahomed? Google honors Indian traveler, author and entrepreneur

    By: Nancy Clanton

    Updated:

    Google’s doodle honors Anglo-Indian traveler and entrepreneur Sake Dean Mahomed on the 260th anniversary of his birth.

    Mahomed was born in 1759 in Patna, India. His father died when he was 10, and Mahomed was brought up by British Capt. Godfrey Evan Baker. 

    Mahomed became a trainee surgeon in the army of the British East India Company, but quit the army when Baker resigned. 

    In 1794 he published “The Travels of Dean Mahomed,” the first book by an Indian author written in English. 

    When Mahomed moved to Ireland, he met and fell in love with Jane Daly. Marriage between Protestants and non-Protestants was illegal, however, so the couple eloped. They married in 1786 and raised a family of seven children.

    When they family moved to London in 1810, Mahomed opened the first Indian restaurant in Britain, Hindostanee Coffee House. “The Epicure’s Almanack—an early London restaurant guide—hailed it as a place for nobility to enjoy hookah and Indian dishes of the highest perfection,” Google says on its doodle page. Despite this, the restaurant was forced to close just two years later.

    Seeking to reinvent himself, Mahomed moved his family to the beachside town of Brighton, where he opened a spa. “His specialty was a combination of a steam bath and an Indian therapeutic massage—a treatment he named ‘shampooing,’ inspired by the Hindi word champissage meaning ‘a head massage,’ “ Google says.

    In 1822, King George IV appointed Mahomed as his personal “shampooing surgeon.” A portrait of Mahomed hangs in the Brighton Museum.

    The search engine’s doodle tradition began in 1998 when, according to the company itself, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin played around with the corporate logo “to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.”

    Now there is an entire team of illustrators bringing biographies, history and interesting tidbits to life on Google’s homepage.

    Here is a look back at some of the most popular 2018 doodles we covered:

    Explore more doodles at google.com/doodles.

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