Tod’s knowledge exchanges with his contemporaries in India
in Knowledge, mediation and empire
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Chapter 6 aims to arrive at a complete a picture of Tod as possible through his written mentions of and exchanges during his stay in India. Tod’s family had Scottish connections and his two maternal uncles, names Heatly, were members of the Bengal Civil Service in India. Mentions of encounters with wild animals, hunting and fishing in India provide light entertainment for Tod’s readers, in the midst of his dense historical and political accounts. Allusions to tensions about British appointments and responsibilities, and a textual ellipsis in the travel narrative of Tod’s third journey from Mewar (June 1821 to March 1822) reveal official distrust between Tod and his hierarchical superior, David Ochterlony. Similarly, very few mentions of illness during the early years of Tod’s stay in Rajasthan (1819-1820), contrasted with more frequent experiences of ill health from 1820 onwards, indicate increased official pressures and professional worries. Tod’s field account book covering 30 months, from November 1819 to April 1822, provides some precise amounts Tod had to spend in his official capacity. Eleven letters in the local Urdu dialect, written from field positions in Rajasthan and Gujarat, by Tod to Rana Bheem Singh of Mewar, reveal Mewar political matters and the personal relationship between Tod and the Rana. Through a study of the various mentions and documents, we catch glimpses of a tormented but committed Tod.

Knowledge, mediation and empire

James Tod’s journeys among the Rajputs

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