James Tod

Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod (20 March 1782 – 18 November 1835) was an English 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 Rajas'han.

Tod was born in London and educated in Scotland. He joined the East India Company as a military officer and travelled to India in 1799 as a cadet in the Bengal Army. He rose quickly in rank, eventually becoming captain of an escort for an envoy in a Sindian royal court. After the Third Anglo-Maratha War, during which Tod was involved in the intelligence department, he was appointed Political Agent for some areas of Rajputana. His task was to help unify the region under the control of the East India Company. During this period Tod conducted most of the research that he would later publish. While Tod was initially successful in his official role, his methods were questioned by other members of the East India Company. Over time, his work was restricted and his areas of oversight were significantly curtailed. In 1823, due to declining health and reputation, Tod resigned his post as Political Agent and travelled back to England.

After returning to his home country Tod published a number of academic works about Indian history and geography, most notably Annals and Antiquities of Rajas'han, based on materials collected during his travels. He retired from the military in 1826, and married Julia Clutterbuck that same year. He died in 1835, aged 53.

Tod's major works have been criticised as containing significant inaccuracies and bias. However, he is highly regarded in some areas of India, particularly among those communities whose ancestors he praised. Furthermore, his accounts of India in general and the Rajputs in specific had a significant impact on British views of the area for many years.

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