As part of the Anniversary celebrations the RAS welcomed a proposal from Dr Elizabeth Driver that a visit to India in the Spring of 2023 be undertaken to trace James Tod’s journeys through Rajasthan in the early 19th century. Tod’s itineraries were described in detail in his Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, 2vols (London, 1829 and 1832). Tod also made surveys of Rajasthan, depicted on a map included in his book.
The RAS party began their tour in Udaipur on 14 February, progressing to Chittorgarh, Begu, Baroli, Menal, Kota, Bamolia, Bundi, Banera and Kumbalgarh, ending in Jodhpur on 1 March.
Dr Driver, who had meticulously researched and planned the visit, gave a fascinating account of it to the Society on Thursday 8 June. The talk was accompanied by illustrations drawn from engravings in the original book, set side by side with views from similar perspectives taken in February 2023. Dr Driver commented especially on the fact that Tod remained a living presence in the history of contemporary Rajasthan, and that so much physical evidence survives of the buildings he saw and studied, or the structures he was instrumental in having built.
The Society’s Anniversary Edition of Tod’s Annals is now with the printer in Italy. It is a fine scholarly edition in three volumes and scheduled for publication by Yale University Press in November 2023. The first two volumes reproduce as accurately as possible the full content of Tod’s original edition – texts and illustrations. The third volume contains new scholarship in the form of notes and explanations of the original text, essays setting the context for the book and its subsequent history (it has never, in one form or another, been out of print), and over 170 reproductions of drawings, engravings and paintings from the Society’s own collection, most of which have never been published before. This handsome 3 volume set comes in a limited numbered edition of 750 copies. The Society is grateful to those who last December kindly agreed to become patrons of this scholarly project. Advanced orders for the book may now placed with booksellers or Yale UP to secure copies before publication in November.
- Dr Gordon Johnson (Vice President RAS)