James Tod

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Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod (20 March 1782 – 18 November 1835) was an English-born officer of the British East India Company and an Oriental scholar. He 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.

Where can we look for sages like those whose systems of philosophy were prototypes of those of Greece: to whose works Plato, Thales & Pythagoras were disciples?
What nation on earth could have maintained the semblance of civilization, the spirit or the customs of their forefathers, during so many centuries of overwhelming depression, but one of such singular character as the Rajpoot?
If devotion to the fair sex be admitted as a criterion of civilization, the Rajpoot must rank high. His susceptibility is extreme, and fires at the slightest offense to female delicacy, which he never forgives.
If we compare the antiquity and illustrious descent of the dynasties which have ruled, and some which continue to rule, the small sovereignties of Rajasthan, with many of celebrity in Europe, superiority will often attach to the Rajput.

Quotes[edit]

  • “…To Iletmish we owe some of the finest Muslim works in India. The Arhai din ka-Jhopra began by Qutab al-Din in AD 1198-99, was also completed by him. Tod had said of it that it was ‘one of the most perfect as well as the most ancient monuments of Hindu architecture’, on the evidence of certain four-armed figures to be seen on the pillars…
    • James Tod quoted in Syed Mahmudul Hasan, Mosque Architecture of Pre-Mughal Bengal, Dacca (Bangladesh), 1979. p. 38

Annals and antiquities of Rajast'han[edit]

  • Where can we look for sages like those whose systems of philosophy were prototypes of those of Greece: to whose works Plato, Thales & Pythagoras were disciples? Where do I find astronomers whose knowledge of planetary systems yet excites wonder in Europe as well as the architects and sculptors whose works claim our admiration, and the musicians who could make the mind oscillate from joy to sorrow, from tears to smile with the change of modes and varied intonation?
    • Tod, James Annals and antiquities of Rajast'han, or the central and western Rajpoot states of India. London, Smith, Elder and co. [etc.] 1829-32. p. 608- 609 Quoted from A Tribute to Hinduism Thoughts and Wisdom Spanning Continents and Time about India and Her Culture by Sushama Londhe.
  • Those who expect from a people like the Hindus a species of composition of precisely the same character as the historical works of Greece and Rome commit the very gregarious error of overlooking the peculiarities which distinguish the natives of India from all other races, and which strongly discriminate their intellectual productions of every kind from those of the West. Their philosophy, their poetry, their architecture, are marked with traits of originality; and the same may be expected to pervade their history, which, like the arts enumerated, took a character from its intimate association with the religion of the people. It must be recollected, moreover,… that the chronicles of all the polished nations of Europe, were, at a much more recent date, as crude, as wild, and as barren, as those of the early Rajputs.
    • James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Routledge and Kegan Paul (London,l829,1957), 2 vols., I quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • “My own animadversions upon the defective condition of the annals of Rajwarra have more than once been checked by a very just remark: ‘When our princes were in exile, driven from hold to hold, and compelled to dwell in the clefts of the mountains, often doubtful whether they would not be forced to abandon the very meal preparing for them, was that a time to think of historical records?’ ”... “If we consider the political changes and convulsions which have happened in Hindustan since Mahmood’s invasion, and the intolerant bigotry of many of his successors, we shall be able to account for the paucity of its national works on history, without being driven to the improbable conclusion, that the Hindus were ignorant of an art which has been cultivated in other countries from almost the earliest ages. Is it to be imagined that a nation so highly civilized as the Hindus, amongst whom the exact sciences flourished in perfection, by whom the fine arts, architecture, sculpture, poetry, music, were not only cultivated, but taught and defined by the nicest and most elaborate rules, were totally unacquainted with the simple art of recording the events of their history, the character of their princes and the acts of their reigns?” [The fact appears to be that] “After eight centuries of galling subjection to conquerors totally ignorant of the classical language of the Hindus; after every capital city had been repeatedly stormed and sacked by barbarous, bigoted, and exasperated foes; it is too much to expect that the literature of the country should not have sustained, in common with other interests, irretrievable losses.”
    • James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Routledge and Kegan Paul (London,l829,1957), 2 vols., I quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • What nation on earth could have maintained the semblance of civilization, the spirit or the customs of their forefathers, during so many centuries of overwhelming depression, but one of such singular character as the Rajpoot? . . . Rajast’han exhibits the sole example in the history of mankind, of a people withstanding every outrage barbarity could inflict, or human nature sustain, from a foe whose religion commands annihilation; and bent to the earth, yet rising buoyant from the pressure, and making calamity a whetstone to courage. . . . Not an iota of their religion or customs have they lost. . .
  • If we compare the antiquity and illustrious descent of the dynasties which have ruled, and some which continue to rule, the small sovereignties of Rajasthan, with many of celebrity in Europe, superiority will often attach to the Rajput.
  • If devotion to the fair sex be admitted as a criterion of civilization, the Rajpoot must rank high. His susceptibility is extreme, and fires at the slightest offense to female delicacy, which he never forgives.

Travels in Western India[edit]

  • These were the first specimens of Christian warfare against the heathen of Hind... It would perhaps be fortunate for Christianity, if the historic muse in India were mute, as many have endeavoured to prove her to be, since atrocities like these are alone sufficient to have scared the Hindus from all association with her creed.
    • James Tod Travels in Western India’, London, 1839, reprinted in New Delhi, 1997, p. 260. Also quoted in Preface by S. R. Goel in Matilda Joslyn Gage : ‘Woman, Church and State’, New Delhi, 1997 (Reprint), p. V (Introduction). Also quoted in [1].

External links[edit]

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