The two volumes of James Tod’s Annals and Antiquities of Rajast’han, first published in 1829–32, remain to this day the first port of call for anyone interested in the history and culture of Rajasthan and the early colonial encounter in India. Written by the first East India Company official to the region, the text was also seminal for the early figures in India’s independence movement who reworked Tod’s imagined ancient Rajput national identities into a call for India’s national liberation from British colonial rule.
Now available in a numbered limited edition of 750 copies, this re-issue of the original text including over 80 original copperplate engravings, woodblock prints, and lithographs returns the text to its original state, while the accompanying companion volume critically reframes this monumental, but often misunderstood, work. The new volume shows how Tod’s Annals is not merely the product of the singular voice of a Western “orientalist” imagination, instead revealing a richly complex work in which Rajasthani voices provide a “multi-authored” heterogeneity to the text which is often discordant and unpredictable. Re-articulating the variety of voices that simultaneously inhabit Tod’s Annals, the revised volume argues for a more conjunctural, contingent, and open-ended reading of colonial history.
Distributed for the Royal Asiatic Society
Norbert Peabody is an affiliated scholar at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge. Ramya Sreenivasan is associate professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. Brian Cannon is a PhD student in South Asian history at the University of Pennsylvania.
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