Introduction
James Tod’s role in knowledge exchanges with the Rajputs
in Knowledge, mediation and empire
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Attempting to analyse James Tod’s position as self-elected defender of the cause of the Rajputs, this book takes "shape-shifting" and "self-translation" in the encounter with human difference, to account for Tod’s exhortation of respect for Rajput pride and honour to the British Government in India. Thomas Metcalf’s distinction between a Romantic sensitivity to Indian tradition, and a Whiggish, rational reforms and laws among British administrators in India, enables us to situate Tod as an ambivalent Romantic with a leaning to rational capitalist improvement in Rajputana. Dane Kennedy’s and David Washbrook’s emphasis on the porous relations between British colonial officials and Indians, using Bakhtin’s concept of many-voiced "dialogism" is particularly applicable to Tod’s context. Christopher A. Bayly and Michael S.Dodson refer to Homi Bhabha"s "hybridity" to better understand the processes of knowledge exchanges in the colonial situation, which is helpful in explaining Tod’s premature retirement from Rajasthan. Daniel Carey and Lynn Festa have drawn together Enlightenment ideas and Postcolonial ideas, advocating attention to diverse practices over umbrella concepts, contrapuntal readings over teleological readings of individual texts, and the importance of the HOWs over the WHATs of colonial encounter, all of which strategies are useful in understanding the paradoxes of Tod’s experience of Rajasthan. The Introduction closes with a summary of the book’s seven chapters.

Knowledge, mediation and empire

James Tod’s journeys among the Rajputs

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