Dr Elizabeth Driver – A Bicentenary Tour of the Royal Asiatic Society (Part 2)

Two important Rajput forts


Tod was greatly moved by the great Rajput forts of Kumbalgarh and Chittorgarh, which he visited under very different circumstances.





Kumbalgarh had been the site of one of Tod’s major diplomatic triumphs and his reception in 1820 by Maharaja Daulat Singh was correspondingly effusive.

In February 1818, Kumbalgarh was occupied by a Maratha garrison. Luckily for Tod, they were mercenaries who had not been paid and he was able to negotiate with them for possession on payment of the arrears. He didn’t have anything like enough cash on him but he provided a bill of exchange and “Next morning, we saw them winding down the western declivity, while we quietly took our breakfast in an old ruined temple.” “My own escort remained in possession for a week, until the Rana sent his garrison. During these eight days our time was amply occupied in sketching and deciphering the monumental records of this singularly diversified spot.”

Tod found much to admire and drew parallels with various forms of classical architecture. He described the battlements as “having a strong resemblance to the Etruscan”.

There are over 300 temples within the fort wall, most of them Jain. Waugh’s drawing of the Parsvanath Jain temple shows what Tod means when he extols its classicism.

“The design of this temple is truly classic… The architecture is undoubtedly Jain, which is as distinct from the Brahmanical as their religion…There is a chasteness and simplicity in this specimen of monotheistic worship, affording a wide contrast to the elaborately sculpted shrines if the Saivas, and other polytheists of India.”

He considers that the extreme want of decoration shows that it is ancient, dating to the time of Chandragupta, two hundred years before Christ. He speculates on the relationship between Chandragupta and the Greeks. “It is curious to contemplate the possibility, nay the probability, that the Jain temple now before the reader may have been designed by Grecian artists… This was our temple of Theseus in Mewar.”

He rather destroys his own argument by telling us about another Jain temple in the vicinity consisting of three stories “…offering a perfect contrast to that described.”. Many of the others have elaborate carvings.

Tod’s party found some difficulty in descending from Kumbalgarh. “Rumour had not magnified the difficulties of the descent, which we found strewed with our baggage, arresting all progress for a full hour.” But they enjoyed the fresh mountain air and the magnificent mountain scenery. Carey had an accident: “There was one spot where the waters formed a pool. Little Carey was determined to trust his pony to carry him across, but deviating to the left, just as I was leaping from a projecting ledge, to my horror, horse and rider disappeared. The shock was momentary, and a good ducking the only result”

We returned to our hotel and were taken in bullock carts to the village stepwell where dinner was served. Next morning, some of us climbed up a large rock with an elephant on the top to see the sun rise.





Tod visited Chittor as a tourist on his return from his final visit to Bundi for the investiture of the new, child, ruler. By then he was very ill and had just been badly injured at Begun so he was being carried in a palki. Nontheless, he tells us he reserved the little strength he had for Chittor. He ascended the steep road through the five great gates on the same elephant he had been riding at Begu; “in passing under each successive portal, I felt an involuntary tendency to stoop, though there was a superfluity of room overhead.” It was worth it:

“My heart beat high as I approached the ancient capital of the Sesodias, teeming with reminiscences of glory, which every stone in her giant-like battlements attested.”

He describes the ruins in great detail, particularly the Pillar of Victory erected by Rana Kumbh on his defeat of the combined armies of Malwa and Gujarat in 1440. “It is one mass of sculpture; of which a better idea cannot be conveyed than in the remark of those who dwell about it, that it contains every object known to their mythology.” It was also a mass of monkeys, as was the temple.



Below the site of the Tower is the “…scene of the awful Johar, on the occasion of Ala sacking Chittor when the Queens perished in the flames.” Ala was Allauddin Khalji, the Sultan of Delhi, and it was he who, having besieged the fort in 1303, was said to have told Rana Ratan Singh that he would spare the city if he could meet Padmini, the beautiful Queen. Of course, it is a tale of betrayal and tragedy. Chittor was won back from the Khaljis but finally fell to Akbar in 1567. Unfortunately, the romantic story is likely a myth and certainly the palace of Padmini we saw long postdates the events; Giles Tillotson told us that the present building is a 19th century replica of an earlier 16th century palace.

Tod spent three days exploring the ruins. “I gazed until the sun’s last rays fell upon the ‘ringlet of Chittor’, illuminating its grey and grief-worn aspect, like a lambent gleam lighting up the face of sorrow.”


Some temples





Tod visited the temples at Barolli, which are now known to date from the 9th and 10th centuries, in November 1821.

Despite being ill, Tod found the energy to examine and describe the temples at Barolli in great detail and Waugh recorded the exquisite carvings.



“Art seems here to have exhausted itself, and we were, perhaps for the first time, fully impressed with the beauty of Hindu sculpture. The columns, the ceilings, the external roofing, where each stone presents a miniature temple, one rising over another, until crowned by the urn like kalas…”

I can’t help thinking that Tod’s belated admiration for Hindu architecture might have had something to do with the columns which were recorded exquisitely in the contemporary drawings and might be regarded as resembling classical European architecture so admired by Tod and his contemporaries. He describes them as “excelling everything yet described”

The temples are still astonishing and thriving. An orange Hanuman is provided with sandals of various sizes in case he wants to go for a walk in the woods.




Tod’s party visited Menal a couple of days later. He enthuses, not for the first or last time, that “It is fortunate that the pencil can here portray what transcends the power of the pen.”



The site of the Menal temples is spectacular and unusual. “It is difficult to conceive what could have induced the princely races of Chitor and Ajmer to select such a spot…, which in summer must be a furnace, owing to the reflection of the sun’s rays from the rock; tradition, indeed, asserts that it is to the love of the sublime alone we are indebted for these singular structures.”

Tod describes the setting of the two groups of temples on either side of a great chasm and imagines his Rajput heroes meeting there before the great battle at Chittor. “To me, who have pored over their poetic legends, and imbibed all those sympathies which none can avoid who study the Rajput character, there was a melancholy charm in the solemn ruins of Menal. It was a season, too, when everything conspired to nourish this feeling; the very trees which were crowded about these relics of departed glory, appearing by their leafless boughs and lugubrious aspect to join the universal mourning.”





Bijolia was part of the Mewar kingdom and was developed during the Chauhan dynasty (7th to 12th Century) when it was known as Morakara. Several inscriptions translated for Tod by Gyanachandra, confirm the history of the site and are still visible on the edge of the main tank.

Tod refers to the modern castle of Bijolia being constructed out of the ruins of Morakara. There are many carved stones in the walls of the present fort and the gateways of the fort and of the palace were clearly constructed from old temple carvings.

Tod tells us: “This is very common, as we have repeatedly noticed; nor can anything better evince that the Hindu attaches no abstract virtue to the material objector idol, but regards it merely as a type of some power or quality which he wishes to propitiate. On the desecration of the receptacle, the idol becomes again, in his estimation, a mere stone, and is used as such without scruple.”

I am not sure that Christians are any different. I have seen many farm houses built with the stones of abbeys.




In Kotah and Bundi we were greatly helped by Vicky Singh, who knows everyone and was able to open doors for us.

In the Personal Narrative, Tod describes his arrival in Kotah in February 1820, promising us that he will have more to say about the city during their halt, “which is likely to be of some continuance.” In fact, he had nothing to say until they left four months later when he explains: “The last four months…was a continued struggle against cholera and deadly fever; never in the memory of man was such a season known. This is not a state of mind or body fit for recording passing events; and although the period of the last six months… has been one of the most eventful of my life, it has left fewer traces of these events on my mind for notice in my journal than if I had been less occupied.” He tells us how they changed the site of their camp several times in an attempt to escape the heat and sickness, to no avail. “Scarcely any place can be more unhealthy than Kotah during the monsoon.”


Zalim Singh

Tantalisingly Tod tells us of his parting from the Maharao and from the Regent, Zalim Singh. “The man who had passed through such scenes as the reader has perused, now at the very verge of existence, could not repress his sorrow. His orbless eyes were filled with tears, and as I pressed his palsied hands which were extended over me, the power of utterance entirely deserted him.”



What is this all about? To find out we have to turn to the history of Kotah which Tod wrote up, with the benefit of hindsight, for the Annals after his return to England. Of one hundred pages, ninety are mostly devoted to Zalim Singh. So, who was he?

Zalim Singh was a very old man by the time Tod visited in 1820, having been born in 1739 into a family of hereditary Faujdars of Kotah – meaning governor and military commander- so a position of great power. As a young man Zalim Singh had twice saved Kotah from defeat, first from Jaipur in 1761 at the battle of Mangrol, and then from Holkar, whose help he had earlier enlisted to defeat Jaipur.

When the ten year old Umaid Singh came to the throne in 1771, Zalim Singh became the Regent, increasing his power, effectively becoming the ruler of Kotah throughout Umaid Singh’s nominal reign. He disposed of all opposition, reorganised the army, reformed land tax, negotiated with the Marathas and Pindaris, even providint them with a fort and land in order to keep Kotah safe from them.

Tod tells us how Zalim Singh operated: “His lynx-like eye saw at once who was likely to invade his authority, and these knew their peril from the vigilance of a system which never relaxed. Entire self-reliance, a police such as perhaps no country in the world could equal, establishments well paid, services liberally rewarded, character and talent in each department  of the State, himself keeping a strict watch overall, and trusting implicitly to none, with a daily personal supervision of all this complicated state-machinery – such was the system which surmounted every peril, and not only maintained but increased the power and political reputation of Zalim Singh, amidst the storms of war, rapine, treason, and political convulsions for more than a century.”

In December 1817, Kotah entered into a treaty of subsidiary alliance with the East India Company, the treaty being signed by Maharao Umaid Singh. In the initial treaty, no power was vested in the Regent, who is only mentioned in the preamble. Tod explains that in March 1818, two supplemental articles were agreed, guaranteeing the administration of the State to Zalim Singh and to his sons and successors for ever. Tod comments: “There is not a shadow of doubt that the supplemental articles of the treaty of Kotah, which pledged our faith to two parties in a manner which rendered its maintenance towards both an impossibility, produced consequences that shook the confidence of the people of Rajwara in our political rectitude.”

The issue came to a head when Umaid Singh died and his successor challenged Zalim Singh’s dominance over the state. This civil war culminated in another battle at Mangrol, in 1821, at which the British supported Zalim Singh but Tod supported the Maharao, who was defeated.


City Palace

Kotah has changed more than any other place we visited and is now a vast industrial city with some astonishing public works, notably a full-size replica of the ghats at Benares and replicas of the wonders of the world, Eiffel Tower included. My attempt to replicate Waugh’s view failed, not least because of the horrendous air pollution.

Waugh drew the “Country seat of the Kotah Prince” near where they camped initially. This is much more recognisable.

Susan and I were shown round the City Palace by the curator, accompanied by the heir to the throne, summoned back to Kotah on the accession of his father to the throne in order to learn the ropes. On our visit in February, apart from Norbert’s horse, we were shown some remarkable wall paintings, including one of a wrestling match – Zalim Singh’s favourite sport- and a lovely series in which the humans came off worse in a boar hunt.


Tod’s bridge

After the signing of the Treaty, the East India company and the Kotah army under Zalim Singh joined forces to defeat the Pindaris. The commemoration plaque explains that the plunder taken was used to fund the building of a bridge over a tributary of the Chambal river and was dedicated to Marquis Hastings, the Governor General of British India. It appears that Zalim Singh, perhaps embarrassed by his role in defeating his erstwhile allies, handed over all the plunder to Tod. The bridge is not as grand as it appears in Waugh’s drawing.


Tod’s horse


Tod was presented with a splendid horse called Baj-raj by Rana Bhim Singh. This horse died and was buried in Kota.


“Baj-raj…was perfection, and so general a favourite, that his death was deemed a public misfortune… The general yell of sorrow that burst from all my sepoys and establishment on that event, was astounding, and the whole camp attended his obsequies; many were weeping, and when they began to throw the earth upon the fine beast, wrapped in his body clothes, his groom threw himself into his grave, and was quite frantic with grief. I cut some locks off his mane in remembrance of the noblest beast I ever crossed, and in a few days, I observed many huge stones near the spot, which before I left Kotah grew into a noble altar of hewn stone about twenty feet square and four feet high, on which was placed the effigy of Baj-raj large as life, sculpted out of one block of freestone.”

The statue is not elegant. Horses were immensely important to the Rajputs. “There are three things you must not ask of a Rajput, his horse, his mistress or his sword.” Paintings of the period perhaps give a better idea of Baj-Raj’s beauty.

Astonishingly the statue of the horse is still there, at the side of a dual carriageway and overshadowed by one of the great roundabouts which are being built all over Kotah.


A digression to the British cemetery Kotah

There have never been many British in Kota – there is only one currently resident- and the British cemetery is consequently small. The earliest grave dates from 1826 and the last from 1891, around which time the Residency ceased to be in Kotah. The most interesting, and most horrifying, dates from the Uprising of 1857. The dedication is extraordinary for its anger and grief. For obvious reasons, it is not publicised by the Kota Heritage Society, who maintain the cemetery.




Tod’s first visit

Still very unwell, Tod travelled from Kota to Bundi in September 1820 and was greeted by the Rao Raja.

Tod describes the Bundi palace: “The coup d’oeil of the castellated palace of Bundi, from whichever side you approach it, is perhaps the most striking in India; but it would require a drawing on a much larger scale to comprehend either its picturesque beauties or its grandeur…”



“Gardens are intermingled with palaces raised on gigantic terraces. In one of these, I was received by the Raja the next day. Whoever has seen the palace of Bundi, can easily picture to himself the hanging gardens of Semiramis.”

For me, Kipling’s description is far more compelling: “The Palace of Bundi, even in broad daylight, is such a palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams, the work of goblins, rather than of men. It is built into and out of the hillside, in gigantic terrace on terrace, and dominates the whole of the city…No-one knows where the hill begins and where the palace ends.”

They stayed a week because first Dr Duncan and then Lt Carey were so ill and Tod himself was still in bed. “Our friend the doctor, who has been ailing for some time, grew gradually worse, and at length gave himself up. Carey found him destroying his papers and making his will, and came over deeply affected. No sooner than he was a little mended than Carey took to his bed.”  They departed, all in litters, and reached Udaipur at the end of October. Carey died when they were almost back and was buried at Merta.


Tod’s second visit

The Rao Raja had made Tod guardian of his young heir and in July 1821 he received the news that the Rao Raja had died of cholera and a summons to return to Bundi, where palace intrigues were threatening the stability of the court and the life of the child heir. They reached Bundi at the end of July, in torrential rain.

Tod describes the ceremony of Rajtilak, or investiture, of the eleven year old Prince Ram Singh. The ceremony took place in the Rajmahall, with crowds of cheering people assembled in the courtyard below “The young prince went through a number of propitiatory rites with singular accuracy and self-possession; and when they were over, the assembly rose. I was then requested to conduct him to the gaddi, placed in an elevated balcony overlooking the external courtIt being too high for the young prince to reach, I raised him to it” A priest brough an unction of sandalwood paste and aromatic oils and “I dipped the middle finger of my right hand and made the tilak on his forehead.”

The next day, Tod was summoned to see the queen-mother who wanted his advice on the ambitions of some of the nobles. Tod remained in Bundi until the problems appeared to have been resolved and the revenues to the depleted treasury were increasing. On his departure, the queen mother adopted him as her brother through the ceremony of Rakhi, the giving of a bracelet. “I had a conversation of about three hours with my adopted sister: a curtain being between us. Her language was sensible and forceful, and she evinced a thorough knowledge of all the routine of government and the views of parties, which she described with great clearness and precision.” “She added that she relied implicitly on my friendship for the deceased, whose regard for me was great.” “… she dismissed me with the oft-repeated remark. ‘Forget not that Lalji is now in your lap’.”



Inside the City Palace

Tod never mentions the wall paintings in any of the places he visited, but those at Bundi are especially notable, though sadly decaying. Kipling does admire them but sees an unsettling sight: “At one end of the garden was a small room, under treatment by native artists who were painting the panels with historical scenes, in distemper. Theirs was florid polychromatic art, but skirting the floor ran a series of frescoes in red, black and white, of combats with elephants… They were worn and defaces in places; but the hand of some bygone limner, who did not know how to waste a line, showed under the bruises and put the earlier work to shame.” That room is now barred off but the ghosts of the elephants are still visible, though not for much longer. The work Kipling saw in progress has been painted over. We saw something similar at Kota.



Cenotaphs and sati

Tod refers to the cenotaphs at Bundi in the context of sati. These cenotaphs are particularly atmospheric and beautifully carved, situated beside a lake, probably near to where Tod camped. Tod is horrified by the sixty-four females who committed sati when Ajit Singh of jodhpur died, but comments that it is twenty less than when his contemporary, Budh Sigh of Bundi, was drowned. “The monuments of this noble family of the Haras are far more explicit than those of the Rathors, for every such sati is sculpted on a small altar in the centre of the cenotaph: which speaks in distinct language the all-powerful motive, vanity, the principal incentive to these tremendous sacrifices.”



He is clearly proud that the last command of his friend the Rao Raja of Bundi was to prohibit his wives from committing sati. Tod tells us that his command was religiously obeyed.


A Kipling digression

Kipling was a great admirer of Tod and quotes him extensively in his articles originally written for the Civil and Military Gazette and the Pioneer; he visited Bundi in 1887.Kipling stayed briefly in the Sukh Mahal but did not enjoy his stay. “The ‘house’ was open to the winds of heaven and the pigeons of the Raj; but the latter had polluted more than the first could purify. A snowy-bearded Chowkidar crawled out of a place of tombs, which he appeared to share with some monkeys…” Nothing has changed. Vicky read us Kipling’s description of Bundi and we ate ice-cream.

The magic of the Palace of Bundi got to Kipling and the sheer scale of it awed him “But what made him blush hotly, all alone among the tombs on the hillside, was the idea that he, with his ridiculous demands for eggs, firewood and sweet drinking water should have clattered and chattered through any part of it at all. He began to understand why Boondi does not welcome Englishmen.”





Man Singh


Tod visited Jodhpur in November 1819, the year in which he was appointed Political Agent to Marwar. The Raja was Man Singh. Tod tells us, writing with hindsight: “The biography of Man Singh would afford a remarkable picture of human patience, fortitude, and constancy, never surpassed in any age or country. But in this school of adversity, he also took lessons in cruelty: he learned therein to master or rather disguise his passions; and though he showed not the ferocity of the tiger, he acquired the still more dangerous attribute of that animal- its cunning. At that very time, not long after he had emerged from his seclusion, while his features were modelled into an expression of complaisant self-content, indicative of a disdain for human greatness, he was weaving his web of destruction for numberless victims who were basking in the sunshine of his favour.”

Astonishingly, Tod seems to have ignored Man Singh’s murderous activities and admired him They met formally on several occasions in the palace within the Meherangarh fort and also had a lengthy private meeting of which Tod says: “I received the most convincing proofs of his intelligence, and minute knowledge of past history…he was remarkably well-read; and at this and other visits, he afforded me much instruction. He had copies made for me of the chief histories of his family, which are now deposited in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society. He entered deeply into the events of his personal history, and recounted many expedients he was obliged to have recourse to in order to save his life…”

The archives at the fort contain immensely detailed accounts of each of the meetings between Man Singh and Tod, how long they were and where they took place, but not what was said at the private meetings. There is also a long list of the presents which were exchanged at the last meeting.

“I went to take leave of the Raja. I left him in the full expectation that his energy of character would surmount the difficulties by which he was surrounded, though not without a struggle… With mutual good wishes, and a request for literary correspondence, which was commenced, but soon closed, I bade adieu to Raja Man and the capital of Marwar.”

But in the six months following Tod’s visit, Man Singh embarked on a spate of killings: “Each day announced a numerous list of victims, either devoted to death, or imprisoned and stripped of their wealth.”

Tod was relieved of his position as Political Agent of Marwar, apparently at the request of the Court.


A day off in Mandore

Following his meetings with Man Singh, Tod had a day off in Mandore, the former capital of Marwar. He admired the cenotaphs, which look more like temples than other cenotaphs seen by Tod or by us. Tod notes that “No less than sixty-four females accompanied the shade of Ajit to the mansion of the sun.” So 20 fewer than with Budh Singh of Bundi, a contemporary.



Tod was much taken with the painted stone sculptures of Rajput heroes which he considered had a “singularly pleasing effect”. “They are cut out of the rock but entirely detached from it, and larger than life…. Each chieftain is armed with lance, sword and buckler… All are painted; but whether in the colours they were attached to, or according to the fancy of the architect, I know not.” He was particularly taken with Pabuji mounted on Kesar Kali. Had I not known that these statues were created in 1707 in the reign of Ajit Singh, I might have attributed them to an Indian Disney.

After climbing up to the old fort, seeing the other group of cenotaphs and admiring the palace and its gardens, Tod committed an act of vandalism. “The day was now nearly departed, and it was time for me to return to my friends in camp. I finished the evening by another visit to the knights of the desert; and, inscribing my name on the foot of Black Caesar, bade adieu to the ancient Mandore.”


Tod’s farewell to Udaipur


Carey’s grave

Poor young Lt Carey died in the summer of 1821 from cholera and was buried “on the heights of Merta”.

Finding Carey’s grave proved an insurmountable challenge, despite everyone’s best efforts. Norbert Peabody pointed out that the painting of Tod on an elephant shows the grave apparently just outside a walled fort or enclosure. I was hoping this might help locate it, but Charles Mudit from the palace said there was no sign of it, although he had located the remains of the walls. It still existed in the 1930s when the inscription was recorded but I fear it may be under a cement works. Rosie Llewellyn-Jones has written up all that is known in Chowkidar.


Tod’s house

As I indicated in the first part of my talk, Tod returned to Udaipur for the last time in March 1822 and saw the progress on his house.

“I halted a few days at Mairta, and found my house nearly finished, and the garden looking beautiful…” “… some of the finest peaches are the produce of those I planted at Gwalior, – I may say their grandchildren. When I left Gwalior in 1817, I brought with me the stones of several peach trees, and planted them in the garden of Rang-Pyari, my residence in Oodipoor; and more delicious or more abundant fruit I never saw. The stones of these I again put in the new garden at Mairta…” “The vegetables were equally thriving…the Rana has monopolized the celery, which he pronounces the prince of vegetables. I had also got my cutter for the Udaisagar, and we promised ourselves many delightful days, sailing amidst islets and fishing in its stream.”

It was not to be and, right at the end of the Annals, Tod writes sadly of the death of Carey and the ill health of Dr Duncan, about to depart for the Cape,and Waugh, left behind at Kota to try to sort out the chaos following the battle between the Maharao and Zalim Singh.

“I looked on all the works my hands had wrought and on the labour I had laboured to do; and alas, all was vanity and vexation of spirit.”

His sadness at having to leave is poignant.

“To all their customs, to all their sympathies, and numerous acts of courtesy and kindness, which have made this not a strange land to me, I am about to bid farewell; whether a final one is written in that book, which for wise purposes is sealed to mortal vision: but wherever I go, whatever days I may number, nor place, nor time can ever waken, far less obliterate, the remembrance of the valley of Oodipoor.”

Saheliyon ki Bari and farewell to Rana Bhim Singh

Tod retreated to a pavilion and garden lent to him by the Queen of Bundi, who had made him her brother.

Tod’s packing and sad farewells are described at the beginning of Travels in Western India.

“A fortnight had been spent in preparations, and in order that I might experience less interruption from visitors, I retired to the Suhailea-ca bari, a delightful villa belonging to the Hara Queen, about a mile north of the capital…”

It was here that Tod bade farewell to the Rana: “The Rana, when he came for the last time to ‘grant me leave’, was amused at seeing me surrounded with workmen employed in making cases for statues, inscriptions, minerals, manuscripts &c. It was a painful interview for all parties.”

Tod tells how he had transformed the lives of the Rana and his subjects by subduing “the predatory Mahratta, the ruthless Pat’han, the kinsman-foe…”

He also makes some rather patronising remarks about the “grand secret of European superiority”, which seems at odds with the tone of the Annals. However, the closeness of his relationship with the Rana is clear:

“On this occasion, instead of his usual good-humoured and always instructive loquacity, the Rana was silent and thoughtful, and what he did utter was in abrupt sentences, with frequent repetitions of “Remember I give you leave for only three years. … He has served me five years, raised the country from ruin, and does not take even a pinch of the soil of Mewar with him.”

An odd remark given the scale of the packing. There were 40 packing cases in all, the contents of which mostly ended up at the Royal Asiatic Society or in the British Library.

On June 1 1822, Tod left Udaipur for the last time.

We assembled for the last time on the steps of the Umaid Bhavan in Jodhpur.


A Reckoning



Tod the hero

It is undoubtedly the case that Tod is still seen by many Rajputs as the man who restored their fortunes and brought them to the attention of the western world as a brave and noble race on a par with European heroes such as the Greeks or the Scythians – or Tod’s own Scottish ancestors. His achievements are not in doubt, nor is his love for the Rajputs and theirs for him.

Some mis-judgments

Much has been written about what went wrong and it is clear that the reasons are complex but it is also clear that Tod did not have the backing of his immediate superior, the Resident in Rajasthan, David Ochterlony. Tod was not good at keeping Ochterlony informed about what he was doing and made his own judgements about who to support. He was sympathetic to the weak ruler of Udaipur, Maharana Bhim Singh; he antagonised the Court at Jodhpur and seems to have completely misjudged Man Singh; he backed the wrong side (the Maharao) in the dispute over succession in Kota which was won by the Regent, Zalim Singh, with the support of the British.

It could be said that he behaved with arrogance and failed to obey his superiors, but it does have to be remembered that communication would have been slow and difficult and there must have been many occasions when he had to take decisions on his own. Sometimes that went well, for example gaining control of Kumbalgarh. On other occasions, such as supporting the Maharao of Kotah, it put him at odds with the British.

A brief analysis such as this cannot begin to address this difficult question.

The enduring success of the Annals

The Annals have never been out of print since 1826 and have been translated into numerous languages, including many Indian languages. They are still regarded as a valid source of information about Rajasthan.


Who’s Who





Ruler- Tod’s time


MewarUdaipurSisodiaRana Bhim Singh 1778-1828Maharaja Shriji Arvind Singh 1984-


 BeguSisodia/ ChundawatRawat Mah Singh Ji II 1807-1823Rawat Sawai Maha Singh Ji III 2018-
 BaneraSisodiaRaja Bhim Singh II 1805-1830Raja D Gopal Charan Sisodia 2021-
MarwarJodhpurRathorRao Bhim Singh 1792-1803;

Man Singh 1803-1817;

Chatter Singh 1817-1818;

Man Singh 1818-1843

Maharaja Gaj Singh II 1952-
HadotiBundiHada/ChauhanRao Raja Bishen Singh 1804-1821;

Ram Singh 1821-1889

Vanshvardhan Singh Hada
 KotaBranched off from BundiMaharao Umed Singh 1  1771-1819;

Kishore Singh II 1819-1828

Maharaja Brijraj Singh 1991-2022;

Ijyaraj Singh 2022-;

Jaidev Singh (Maharaj Kumar)

 BambuliaAton/Bambolia, branch of Kotah dynastyRaja Zorawer Singh 1804-1840Maharaja Abhimanyu Singh 1991-