TOD, James. Islington (London) 20.3.1782 — London 17.11.1835. British (Scottish) Colonial Officer, Indologist and Numismatist in India. Son of James Tod and Mary Heatly, born in London, but educated in Scotland. In 1798 became cadet, with the help of his uncle, 1799 came to Bengal. Lieutenant 1800. In 1801 was sent to Delhi and in 1805 in an embassy to Sindhia, where remained long. In 1812-17 attached to the Resident at Gwalior, 1813 Captain and commander of the resident forces, 1815 Second Assistant to the Resident. From 1818 Political Agent in western Rajput States. He carried on well and became befriended with the princes – which led his superiors into a suspicion of corruption. Ill and angry with suspicions he retired in 1822 and returned to the U.K. in 1823. Spent the rest of his life working on his enormous scholarly collections, for a while also Librarian of the R.A.S. Retired from army service in 1825. Major 1824, Lieutenant-Colonel 1826. Married 1826 Julia Clutterbuck, one daughter and two sons. Since early 1820s he had health problems and died of apoplexy.
Tod was the first to map Central India and Rajasthan. To achieve it he spent his salary to employ Indian assistants. Though occasionally lapsing into Wilfordianisms, he was an important pioneer of Indian numismatics and his Annals was a real achievement, which long held its value. He had a large collection of Indian and Indo-Greek coins.
Publications: “An account of Greek, Parthian and Hindu Medals found in India” TrRAS 1:2, 1826, 318-342; “De l’origine asiatique de quelques-unes des anciennes Tribus de l’Europe établies sur les rivages de la mer Baltique, surtout les Su, Suedi, Suiones, Asi, Yeuts, Juts ou Gètes-Goths etc., etc.”, JA 10, 1827, 277-309; “On the Religious Establishment of Méwar”, TrRAS 2:1, 1829, 270-325; “Remarks on Certain Sculptures in the Cave Temples of Ellora”, TrRAS 2:1, 1829, 328-339; “Observations on a Gold Ring of Hindu Fabrication found at Montrose in Scotland”, TrRAS 2:2, 1830, 559-571; “Comparison of the Hindu and Theban Hercules, illustrated by an ancient Hindu Intaglio”, TrRAS 3:1, 1831, 139-159.
– Epigraphical articles in TrRAS 1:1, 1825, 133-154 & 1:2, 1826, 207-222.
– Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan or the Central and Western Rajput States of India. 1-2. 1829-32, 2nd ed. 1973, edited with introd. and notes by W. Crooke. 1-3. 119+1862 p. L. 1920.
– “The Vow of Sanjogta (a translation of an episode in the poem)”, Asiatic Journal 25, 18??, 101-112, 197-211, 273-286 (from the Pṛthvīrājrāsau).
– Travels in Western India, embracing a Visit to the Sacred Mounts of the Jains. 518 p. L. 1839.
Sources: JRAS 3, 1836, Proc. lxi; Buckland, Dictionary; S.W[heeler], D.N.B. 56, 1898, 242f.; long article in Wikipedia with further references, portrait (from the 1920 ed. of his book) and a bust.
*Jason Freitag: The power which raised them from ruin and oppression: James Tod, historiography, and the Rājpūt ideal. New York 2001, *Serving empire, serving nation: James Tod and the Rajputs of Rajasthan. Leiden 2009.