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TOD, James.

Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, or the Central and Western Rajpoot States of India.

Calcutta: Harimohan Mookerjee, 1877-9 Stock Code: 129011
£4,750.00
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"The Herodotus of the History of Rajasthan" V. K. Vashishtha (1992)

First Calcutta edition of "the first systematic introduction of the Rajputs to the European world" (Freitag, Serving Empire, Serving Nation, p. 25). This copy designated the second on the title page. It is, in fact, second Indian edition based on the text of the 1829-32 Smith, Elder & Co. first. The plates were adapted from those in the London edition by local engravers. Scarce, Library Hub shows a single set at Bateman's, Kiplings home, and a defective copy of volume II in BL, WorldCat has the latter only.

A British solider with the East India Company from 1799 to 1822, and from 1818 the Resident in the courts of Rajput. During his time "he was constantly surveying or collecting topographical information" (ODNB). He also gathered materials from local archives, Rajput traditional sources, and local surveyors, whom he paid to travel and conduct interviews. On his return to England, "the rest of his life was mostly spent in arranging and publishing the immense mass of materials accumulated during his Indian career" (ODNB). The resulting two volumes are an extensive survey of the history, beliefs and topography of Rajasthan. He gave a simple justification for his work: "I have fulfilled what I considered to be a sacred obligation to the races amongst whom I have passed the majority of my life... I am far less eager to court public approbation, than to awaken a sympathy for the objects of my work, the interesting people of Rajpootana" (vol. II, i).

Tod did not intend this work so much as an edited, tightly wrought historical work but as "a copious collection of materials for the future historian." He was "far less concerned at the idea of giving too much, than at the apprehension of suppressing what might possibly be useful" (vol. I, xiii). Perhaps for this reason, the book has remained an important work and he is still respected by many historians in India and elsewhere. "It is being increasingly recognized that Tod's text has played a key role in what might be called vernacular Orientalism" (Arya, Review of Romanticism's Child, Indian Historical Review, 2017). He is now remembered by many as a genuine supporter of Indian history, sympathetic to Indian political aspirations.

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Description

2 volumes quarto. Original green fine-combed moiré cloth, title gilt to the spines, panelling in blind to the boards, scrolled foliate cornerpieces and centre-tools, plain endpapers.

Illustrations

16 tissue-guarded engraved plates by N. C. Bose, S. C. Dass, T.N. Dev and others after Captain Waugh (6), Ghafsi (5) and others, 2 folding letterpress tables; printed in double columns.

Condition

A little rubbed and soiled, minor wear at some extremities, short split to the cloth on front board of volume I, internal binding slightly cracked in places. Remains a very good copy.

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