Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod was an officer of the British East India Company and an Oriental scholar.
50 Facts About James Tod
James Tod combined his official role and his amateur interests to create a series of works about the history and geography of India, and in particular the area then known as Rajputana that corresponds to the present day state of Rajasthan, and which Tod referred to as Rajast'han.
James Tod joined the East India Company as a military officer and travelled to India in 1799 as a cadet in the Bengal Army.
James Tod rose quickly in rank, eventually becoming captain of an escort for an envoy in a Sindian royal court.
James Tod's task was to help unify the region under the control of the East India Company.
James Tod was initially successful in his official role, but his methods were questioned by other members of the East India Company.
In 1823, owing to declining health and reputation, James Tod resigned his post as Political Agent and returned to England.
Back home in England, James Tod published a number of academic works about Indian history and geography, most notably Annals and Antiquities of Rajast'han, based on materials collected during his travels.
James Tod retired from the military in 1826, and married Julia Clutterbuck that same year.
James Tod was the second son for his parents, James and Mary, both of whom came from families of "high standing", according to his major biographer, the historian Jason Freitag.
James Tod was educated in Scotland, whence his ancestors came, although precisely where he was schooled is unknown.
James Tod left England for India in 1799 and in doing so followed in the footsteps of various other members of his family, including his father, although Tod senior had not been in the company but had instead owned an indigo plantation at Mirzapur.
The young James Tod journeyed as a cadet in the Bengal Army, appointment to which position was at the time reliant upon patronage.
James Tod was appointed lieutenant in May 1800 and in 1805 was able to arrange his posting as a member of the escort to a family friend who had been appointed as Envoy and Resident to a Sindian royal court.
James Tod undertook various topographical and geological studies as it travelled from one area to another, using his training as an engineer and employing other people to do much of the field work.
James Tod drew up various strategies for the military campaign.
The anonymous author of the introduction to James Tod's posthumously published book, Travels in Western India, says that.
James Tod continued his surveying work in this physically challenging, arid and mountainous area.
James Tod's responsibilities were extended quickly: initially involving himself with the regions of Mewar, Kota, Sirohi and Bundi, he soon added Marwar to his portfolio and in 1821 was given responsibility for Jaisalmer.
James Tod believed that to achieve cohesion it was necessary that the Rajput states should contain only Rajput people, with all others being expelled.
James Tod was not universally respected in the East India Company.
James Tod resigned his role as Political Agent in Mewar later that year, citing ill health.
James Tod's misfortune was that, in consequence of favouring native princes so much, the government of Calcutta were led to suspect him of corruption, and consequently to narrow his powers and associate other officers with him in his trust, till he was disgusted and resigned his place.
In February 1823, James Tod left India for England, having first travelled to Bombay by a circuitous route for his own pleasure.
James Tod became a member of the newly established Royal Asiatic Society in London, for whom he acted for some time as librarian.
James Tod suffered an apoplectic fit in 1825 as a consequence of overwork, and retired from his military career in the following year, soon after he had been promoted to lieutenant-colonel.
James Tod spent much of the last year of his life abroad in an attempt to cure a chest complaint and died on 18 November 1835 soon after his return to England from Italy.
James Tod had moved into a house in Regent's Park earlier in that year.
James Tod was unsuccessful in implementing another of his ideas, which was based on the ideology of Romantic nationalism.
James Tod believed that the replacement of Maratha rule with that of the British had resulted in the Rajputs merely swapping the onerous overlordship of one government for that of another.
James Tod's ingenious use of these viewpoints later enabled him to promote in his books the notion that there was a shared experience between the people of Britain and this community in a distant, relatively unexplored area of the empire.
James Tod speculated that there was a common ancestor shared by the Rajputs and Europeans somewhere deep in prehistory and that this might be proven by comparison of the commonality in their history of ideas, such as myth and legend.
James Tod had previously generally agreed with Tod, who acknowledged claims that blood-ties played some sort of role in the relationship between princes and vassals in many states.
James Tod used philological techniques to reconstruct areas of Rajput history that were not even known to the Rajputs themselves, by drawing on works such as the religious texts known as Puranas.
Koditschek says that James Tod "developed an interest in triangulating local culture, politics and history alongside his maps", and Metcalf believes that James Tod "ordered [the Rajputs'] past as well as their present" while working in India.
James Tod had to finance publication himself: sales of works on history had been moribund for some time and his name was not particularly familiar either at home or abroad.
One aspect of history that James Tod studied in his Annals was the genealogy of the Chathis Rajkula, for the purpose of which he took advice on linguistic issues from a panel of pandits, including a Jain guru called Yati Gyanchandra.
James Tod said that he was "desirous of epitomising the chronicles of the martial races of Central and Western India" and that this necessitated study of their genealogy.
James Tod was interested in numismatics as well, and he discovered the first specimens of Bactrian and Indo-Greek coins from the Hellenistic period following the conquests of Alexander the Great, which were described in his books.
James Tod had taken notes on his journey to Bombay and collated them for another book, Travels in Western India.
James Tod was an officer of the British imperial system, at that time the world's dominant power.
James Tod heard what they told him but knew little of what they omitted.
James Tod was a soldier writing about a caste renowned for its martial abilities, and he was aided in his writings by the very people whom he was documenting.
James Tod had been interested in Rajput history prior to coming into contact with them in an official capacity, as administrator of the region in which they lived.
James Tod relied heavily on existing Indian texts for his historical information and most of these are today considered unreliable.
James Tod's work relating to the genealogy of the Chathis Rajkula was criticised as early as 1872, when an anonymous reviewer in the Calcutta Review said that.
James Tod mistook Rana Kumbha, a ruler of Mewar in the fifteenth century, as being the husband of the princess-saint Mira Bai and misrepresented the story of the queen Padmini.
The overly romanticised image of Rajasthan, and of the Rajput sati, that James Tod presented came to be extremely influential in shaping British understanding of the rite's Rajput context.
The romantic nationalism that James Tod espoused was used by Indian nationalist writers, especially those from the 1850s, as they sought to resist British control of the country.
In 1997, the Maharana Mewar Charitable Foundation instituted an award named after James Tod and intended it to be given to modern non-Indian writers who exemplified James Tod's understanding of the area and its people.