James Todd Annals/Preface by the Editor
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- 1 The merits and defects of Colonel Tod's work
- 2 Advances in Indian history
- 3 Transliteration of personal and place names corrected
- 4 The scheme of the book
- 5 The dates recorded
- 6 Acknowledgement
- 7 Author's introduction to the First volume of the original Edition
- 8 Author's introduction to the second volume of the original edition
- 9 Simplicity of the Jat communities
The merits and defects of Colonel Tod's work
[p.ix]: No one can undertake with a light heart the preparation of a new edition of Colonel Tod's great work, The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan. But the leading part which the Rajputs have taken in the Great War, the summoning of one of their princes to a seat at the Imperial Conference, the certainty that as the result of the present cataclysm they will be entitled to a larger share in the administration of India, have contributed to the desire that this classical account of their history and sociology should be presented in a shape adapted to the use of the modern scholar and student of Indian history and antiquities.
In the Introduction which follows I have endeavoured to estimate the merits and defects of Colonel Tod's work. Here it is necessary only to state that though the book has been several times reprinted in India and once in this country, the obvious difficulties of such an undertaking have hitherto prevented any writer better qualified than myself from attempting to prepare an annotated edition. Irrespectively of the fact that this work was published a century ago, when the study of the history, antiquities, sociology, and geography of India had only recently started, the Author's method led him to formulate theories on a wide range of subjects not directly connected with the Rajputs. In the light of our present knowledge some of these speculations have become obsolete, and it might have been possible, without impairing the value of the work as a Chronicle of the Rajputs, to have discarded from the text and notes much which no longer possesses value. But the work is a classic, and it deserves to be treated as such, and it was decided that any mutilation of the original text and notes would be inconsistent with the object of this series of reprints of classical works on Indian subjects. The
[p.x]: only alternative course was to correct in notes, clearly distinguished from those of the Author, such facts and theories as are no longer accepted by scholars.
Advances in Indian history
It is needless to say that during the last century much advance has been made in our knowledge of Indian history, antiquities, philology, and sociology. We are now in a position to use improved translations of many authorities which were quoted by the Author from inadequate or incorrect versions. The translation of Ferishta’s History by A. Dow and Jonathan Scott has been superseded by that of General J. Briggs, that of the Ain-i-Akbari of F. Gladwin by the version by Professor H. Blochmann and Colonel H. S. Jarrett. For the Memoirs of Jahangir, the Author relied on the imperfect version by Major David Price, which has been replaced by a new translation of the text in its more complete form by Messrs. A. Rogers and H. Beveridge. For the Laws of Manu we have the translation by Dr. G. Buhler. The passages in classical literature relating to India have been collected, translated, and annotated by the late Mr. J. W. McCrindle. Much information not available for the Author's use has been provided by The History of India as told by its own Historians, by Sir H. M. Elliot and Professor J. Dowson, and by Mr. W. Irvine's translation, with elaborate notes, of N. Manucci's Storia do Magor. Among original works useful for the present edition the following may be mentioned : J. Grant Duff's History of the Mahrattas ; Dr. Vincent A. Smith's Early History of India, History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon, Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India, and Akbar, the Great Mogul ; Professor Jadunath Sarkar's History of Aurangzeb, of which only three volumes have been published ; Mr. W. Irvine's Army of the Indian Moghuls ; Sir W. Lee- Warner's Protected Princes of India.
Sources of Collection: Much historical, geographical, and ethnological information has been collected in the new edition of the Imperial Gazetteer of India the Bombay Gazetteer edited by Sir J. M. Campbell, and, more particularly, in the revised Gazetteer of Rajputana, including that of Mewar and the Western States Residency and Bikaner Agency by Lieutenant-Colonel K. D. Erskine, and that of Ajmer by Mr. C. C. Watson. Lieutenant-Colonel Erskine's work, based on the best local information, has been of special value, and it is much to be regretted that this officer, after serving as Consul-
[p.xi]: General at Baghdad, was invalided and died in England in 1914, leaving that part of the Gazetteer dealing with the Eastern States, Jaipur, Kotah, and Bundi, unrevised. For botany, agriculture, and natural productions I have used Sir G. Watt's Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, and his Commercial Products of India ; for architecture and antiquities, J. Fergusson's History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, edited by Dr. J. Burgess, and The Cave Temples of India by the same writers. In ethnology I have consulted the publications of the Ethnological Survey of India, of which Mr. H. A. Rose's [[Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province]], Mr. Bhimbhai Kirparam's account of the Hindus and Khan Bahadur Fazalullah Lutfullah's of the Musalmans of Gujarat, published in the Bombay Gazetteer, vol. ix. Parts i. ii., have been specially valuable. Besides the general works to which reference has been made, many articles on Rajputana and the Rajputs will be found in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society and its Bombay branch, in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and in the Indian Antiquary, and other periodicals. The Reports of the Archaeological Survey of India conducted by Sir A. Cunningham, Dr. J. Burgess, and Sir J. H. Marshall, are of great importance.
I cannot pretend to have exhausted the great mass of new information available in the works to which I have referred, and in others named in the Bibliography ; and it was not my object to overload the notes which are already voluminous. To the general reader the system of annotation which I have attempted to carry out may appear meticulous ; but no other course seemed possible if the work was to be made more useful to the historian and to the scholar. The editor of a work of this class is forced to undertake the somewhat invidious duty of calling attention to oversights or errors either in fact or theory. But this does not detract from the real value of the work. In some cases I have been content with adding a note of interrogation to warn the reader that certain statements must be received with caution. As regards geography, I have in many cases indicated briefly the position of the more important places, so far as they can be traced in the maps with which I was provided. The Author was so intimately acquainted with the ground, that he assumed in the general reader a degree of knowledge which he does not possess.
Transliteration of personal and place names corrected
[p.xii]: The text and notes, with the exception of a few obvious over- sights, have been reprinted as they stood in the first edition, and as the latter is often quoted in books of authority, I have added its pagination for facility of reference. It was decided, after much consideration, to correct the transliteration of personal and place names and other vernacular terms according to the system now adopted in official gazetteers, maps, and reports. This change might have been unnecessary if the transliteration of these words, according to the system in use at the time when the book was written, had been uniformly correct. But this is not the case. At the same time I have preserved the original readings of those names which have become established in popular usage, such as " Mogul," " Mahratta," " Deccan," in place of "Mughal," "Marhata," " Dakkhin." Following the Author's example, I have not thought it necessary to overload the text by the use of accents and diacritical marks, which are useless to the scholar and only embarrass the general reader. But in the Index I have accentuated the personal and place names so far as I believed I could do so with safety. Some of these I have been unable to trace in later authorities, and I fear that I may have failed to secure complete uniformity of method.
The scheme of the book
The scheme of the book, which attempts to give parallel accounts of each State, naturally causes difficulty to the reader. A like embarrassment is felt by any historian who endeavours to combine in a single narrative the fortunes of the Mughal Empire with those of the kingdoms in Bengal, the Deccan, or southern India ; by the historian of Greece, where the centre of activity shifts from Athens to Sparta, Thebes, or Macedonia ; by the historian of Germany before the minor kingdoms were more or less fully absorbed by the Hohenzollerns. I have endeavoured to assist the reader in dealing with these independent annals by largely extending the original Index, and by the use of page headings and paragraph summaries.
The dates recorded
In the dates recorded in the summaries I have generally followed Lieutenant-Colonel Erskine's guidance, so far as his work was available. In view of the inconsistencies between some dates in the text and those recorded in the summaries, it must be remembered that it was the Author's habit in adapting the dates of the Samvat to those of the Christian era, to deduct 56,
[p.xiii]: not 57 from the former, contrary to the practice of modern historians.
I am indebted to many friends for assistance. Captain C. D. M'K. Blunt has kindly given me much help in the record of Colonel Tod's life, and has supplied a photograph of the charming miniature of the Author as a young officer and of a bust which have been reproduced in the frontispieces. Mr. R. E. Enthoven, C.I.E., has given me the photograph of the Author engaged in his studies with his Jain Guru.1 The fragments of local ballads scattered through the text were unfortunately copied from very incorrect texts. Dr. L. P. Tessitori, an Italian scholar, who, until the outbreak of the War, was engaged in collecting the local ballads of the Rajputs, has given a correct version of these ballads ; and in improving the text of them I have been assisted by Colonel C. E. Luard, his Pandit, and Sir G. Grierson, K.C.I.E. Since the greater part of the following pages was in type, I have received copies of three reports by Dr. L. P. Tessitori, " A Scheme for the Bardic and Historical Survey of Rajputana," and two Progress Reports for the years 1915 and 1916, published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (New Series, vol. x. No. 10 ; xii. No. 3 ; xiii. No. 4). These contain information regarding the MSS. copies of some ballads and inscriptions, which throw light on the traditions and antiquities of the Rajputs. I regret that I was unable to use these papers, which, however, do not supply much information on questions connected with The Annals. Among other friends who have helped me in various ways I may name the late Sir G. Birdwood; Mr. W. Foster, CLE. ; Professor A. Keith, F.R.S. ; Lieutenant-Colonel Sir D. Prain, F.R.S. ; and Dr. Vincent A. Smith, CLE. W. Crooke.
- 1 This picture, supposed to be the work of Ghasi, the Author's artist, was recently discovered in Rajputana.
Author's introduction to the First volume of the original Edition
Much disappointment has been felt in Europe at the sterility of the historic muse of Hindustan. When Sir William Jones first began to explore the vast mines of Sanskrit literature, great hopes were entertained that the history of the world would acquire considerable accessions from this source. The sanguine expectations that were then formed have not been realized ; and, as it usually happens, excitement has been succeeded by apathy and indifference. It is now generally regarded as an axiom, that India possesses no national history ; to which we may oppose the remark of a French Orientalist, who ingeniously asks, whence Abu-l Fazl obtained the materials for his outlines of ancient Hindu history ? 1 Mr. Wilson has; indeed, done much to obviate this prejudice, by his translation of the Raja Tarangini, or History of Kashmir, 2 which clearly demonstrates that regular historical composition was an art not unknown in Hindustan, and affords satisfactory ground for concluding that these productions were once less rare than at present, and that further exertion may bring more relics to light. Although the labours of Colebrooke, Wilkins, Wilson, and others of our own countrymen, emulated by
- 1 M. Abel Remusat, in his Melanges Asiatiques, makes many apposite and forcible remarks on this subject, which, without intention, convey a just reproof to the lukewarmness of our countiymen. The institution of the Royal Asiatic Society, especially that branch of it devoted to Oriental translations, may yet redeem this reproach.
- 2 Asiatic Researches, vol. xv. [The Rajatarangini of Kalhana has been translated by M. A. Stein, 2 vols., London, 1910.]
[p.lvi]: many learned men in France [viii] and Germany, 1 have revealed to Europe some of the hidden lore of India ; still it is not pretended that we have done much more than pass the threshold of Indian science ; and we are consequently not competent to speak decisively of its extent or its character. Immense libraries, in various parts of India, are still intact, which have survived the devastations of the Islamite. The collections of Jaisalmer and Patan, for example, escaped the scrutiny of even the lynx-eyed Alau-d-din who conquered both these kingdoms, and who would have shown as little mercy to those literary treasures, as Omar displayed towards the Alexandrine library. Many other minor collections, consisting of thousands of volumes each, exist' in Central and Western India, some of which are the private property of princes, and others belong to the Jain communities. 2
If we consider the political changes and convulsions which have happened in Hindustan since Mahmud's invasion, and the intolerant bigotry of many of his successors, we shall be able to account for the paucity of its national works on history, without being driven to the improbable conclusion, that the Hindus were
- 1 When the genius and erudition of such men as Schlegel are added to the zeal which characterizes that celebrated writer, what revelations may we not yet expect from the cultivation of oriental literature ?
- 2 Some copies of these Jain MSS. from Jaisalmer, which were written from five to eight centuries back, I presented to the Royal Asiatic Society. Of the vast numbers of these MS. books in the libraries of Patan and Jaisalmer, many are of the most remote antiquity, and in a character no longer understood by their possessors, or only by the supreme pontiff and his initiated librarians. There is one volume held so sacred for its magical contents, that it is suspended by a chain in the temple of Chintaman, at the last-named capital in the desert, and is only taken down to have its covering renewed, or at the inauguration of a pontiff. Tradition assigns its authorship to Somaditya Suru Acharya, a pontiff of past days, before the Islamite had crossed the waters of the Indus, and whose diocese extended far beyond that stream. His magic mantle is also here preserved, and used on every new installation. The character is, doubtless, the nail-headed Pali ; and could we introduce the ingenious, indefatigable, and modest Mons. E. Burnouf, with his able coadjutor Dr. Lassen, into the temple, we might learn something of this Sibylline volume, without their incurring the risk of loss of sight, which befel the last individual, a female Yati of the Jains, who sacrilegiously endeavoured to acquire its contents. [For the temple library at Jaisalmer see I A, iv. 81 if; for those at Udaipur, ibid. xiii. 31. J. Burgess visited the Patan library, described by the Author (WI, 232 ff.), and found a collection of palm-leaf MSS., carefully wrapped in cloth and deposited in large chests (BG, vii. 598).]
[p.lvii]: ignorant of an art which has been cultivated in other countries from almost the earliest ages. Is it to be imagined that a nation so highly civilized as the Hindus, amongst whom the exact sciences flourished in perfection, by whom the fine arts [ix], architecture, sculpture, poetry, music, were not only cultivated, but taught and defined by the nicest and most elaborate rules, were totally unacquainted with the simple art of recording the events of their history, the characters of their princes, and the acts of their reigns ? Where such traces of mind exist, we can hardly believe that there was a want of competent recorders of events, which synchronical authorities tell us were worthy of commemoration. The cities of Hastinapur and Indraprastha, of Anhilwara and Somanatha, the triumphal columns of Delhi and Chitor, the shrines of Abu and Girnar, the cave-temples of Elephanta and Ellora, are so many attestations of the same fact ; nor can we imagine that the age in which these works were erected was without an historian. Yet from the Mahabharata or Great War, to Alexander's invasion, and from that grand event to the era of Mahmud of Ghazni, scarcely a paragraph of pure native Hindu history (except as before stated) has hitherto been revealed to the curiosity of Western scholars. In the heroic history of Prithiraj, the last of the Hindu sovereigns of Delhi, written by his bard Chand, we find notices which authorize the inference that works similar to his own were then extant, relating to the period between Mahmud and Shihabu-d-din (A.D. 1000-1193) ; but these have disappeared.
After eight centuries of galling subjection to conquerors totally ignorant of the classical language of the Hindus ; after almost every capital city had been repeatedly stormed and sacked by barbarous, bigoted, and exasperated foes ; it is too much to expect that the literature of the country should not have sustained, in common with other important interests, irretrievable losses. My own animadversions upon the defective condition of the annals of Rajwara have more than once been checked by a very just remark : " when our princes were in exile, driven from hold to hold, and compelled to dwell in the clefts of the mountains, often doubtful whether they would not be forced to [x] abandon the very meal preparing for them, was that a time to think of historical records ? "
Those who expect from a people like the Hindus a species of
[p.lviii]: composition of precisely the same character as the historical works of Greece and Rome, commit the very egregious error of overlooking the peculiarities which distinguish the natives of India from all other races, and which strongly discriminate their intellectual productions of every kind from those of the West. Their philosophy, their poetry, their architecture, are marked with traits of originality ; and the same may be expected to pervade their history, which, like the arts enumerated, took a character from its intimate association with the religion of the people. It must be recollected, moreover, that until a more correct taste was imparted to the literature of England and of France, by the study of classical models, the chronicles of both these countries, and indeed of all the polished nations of Europe, were, at a much more recent date, as crude, as wild, and as barren as those of the early Rajputs.
In the absence of regular and legitimate historical records, there are, however, other native works (they may, indeed, be said to abound), which, in the hands of a skilful and patient investigator, would afford no despicable materials for the history of India. The first of these are the Puranas and genealogical legends of the princes, which, obscured as they are by mythological details, allegory, and improbable circumstances, contain many facts that serve as beacons to direct the research of the historian. What Hume remarks of the annals and annalists of the Saxon Heptarchy, may be applied with equal truth to those of the Rajput Seven States : 1 " they abound in names, but are extremely barren of events ; or they are related so much without circumstances and causes, that the most profound and eloquent writer must despair [xi] of rendering them either instructive or entertaining to the reader. The monks " (for which we may read " Brahmans "), " who lived remote from public affairs, considered the civil transactions as subservient to the ecclesiastical, and were strongly affected with credulity, with the love of wonder, and with a propensity to imposture."
The heroic poems of India constitute another resource for history. Bards may be regarded as the primitive historians of mankind. Before fiction began to engross the attention of poets, or rather, before the province of history was dignified by a class of writers who made it a distinct department of literature, the
[p.lix]: functions of the bard were doubtless employed in recording real events and in commemorating real personages. In India Calliope has been worshipped by the bards from the days of Vyasa, the contemporary of Job, to the time of Benidasa, the present chronicler of Mewar. The poets are the chief, though not the sole, historians of Western India ; neither is there any deficiency of them, though they speak in a peculiar tongue, which requires to be translated into the sober language of probability. To compensate for their magniloquence and obscurity, their pen is free : the despotism of the Rajput princes does not extend to the poet's lay, which flows unconfined except by the shackles of the chand bhujanga, or ' serpentine stanza ' ; no slight restraint, it must be confessed, upon the freedom of the historic muse. On the other hand, there is a sort of compact or understanding between the bard and the prince, a barter of "solid pudding against empty praise," whereby the fidelity of the poetic chronicle is somewhat impaired. This sale of " fame," as the bards term it, by the court-laureates and historiographers of Rajasthan, will continue until there shall arise in the community a class sufficiently enlightened and independent, to look for no other recompense for literary labour than public distinction.
Still, however, these chroniclers dare utter truths, sometimes most [xii] unpalatable to their masters. When offended, or actuated by a virtuous indignation against immorality, they are fearless of consequences ; and woe to the individual who provokes them ! Many a resolution has sunk under the lash of their satire, which has condemned to eternal ridicule names that might other- wise have escaped notoriety. The vish, or poison of the bard, is more dreaded by the Rajput than the steel of the foe.
The absence of all mystery or reserve with regard to public affairs in the Rajput principalities, in which every individual takes an interest, from the noble to the porter at the city-gates, is of great advantage to the chronicler of events. When matters of moment in the disorganized state of the country rendered it imperative to observe secrecy, the Rana of Mewar, being applied to on the necessity of concealing them, rejoined as follows : " this is Chaumukha-raj ; 1 Eklinga the sovereign, I his vicegerent ; in him I trust, and I have no secrets from my children." To this
- 1 ' Government of four mouths,' alluding to the quadriform image of
the tutelary divinity.
[p.lx]: publicity may be partly ascribed the inefficiency of every general alliance against common foes ; but it gives a kind of patriarchal character to the government, and inspires, if not loyalty and patriotism in their most exalted sense, feelings at least much akin to them.
A material drawback upon the value of these bardic histories is, that they are confined almost exclusively to the martial exploits of their heroes, and to the rang-ran-bhum, or ' field of slaughter.' Writing for the amusement of a warlike race, the authors disregard civil matters and the arts and pursuits of peaceful life ; love and war are their favourite themes. Chand, the last of the great bards of India, tells us, indeed, in his preface, " that he will give rules for governing empires ; the laws of grammar and composition ; lessons in diplomacy, home and foreign, etc." : and he fulfills his promise, by interspersing precepts on these points in various episodes throughout his work [xiii].
Again : the bard, although he is admitted to the knowledge of all the secret springs which direct each measure of the government, enters too deeply into the intrigues, as well as the levities, of the court, to be qualified to pronounce a sober judgment upon its acts.
Nevertheless, although open to all these objections, the works of the native bards afford many valuable data, in facts, incidents, religious opinions, and traits of manners ; many of which, being carelessly introduced, are thence to be regarded as the least suspicious kind of historical evidence In the heroic history of Prithiraj, by Chand, there occur many geographical as well as historical details, in the description of his sovereign's wars, of which the bard was an eye-witness, having been his friend, his herald, his ambassador, and finally discharging the melancholy office of accessory to his death, that he might save him from dishonour. The poetical histories of Chand were collected by the great Amra Singh of Mewar, a patron of literature, as well as a warrior and a legislator. 1
Another species of historical records is found in the accounts given by the Brahmans of the endowments of the temples, their dilapidation and repairs, which furnish occasions for the introduction of historical and chronological details. In the legends,
- 1[Only portions of the Chand-raesa or Prithiraj Raesa have been translated (Smith, EHI, 387, note ; lA, i. 269 ff., iii. 17 ff., xxxii. 167 f.]
[p.lxi]: respecting places of pilgrimage and religious resort, profane events are blended with superstitious rites and ordinances, local ceremonies and customs. The controversies of the Jains furnish, also, much historical information, especially with reference to Gujarat and Nahrwala, during the Chaulukya dynasty. From a close and attentive examination of the Jain records, which embody all that those ancient sectarians knew of science, many chasms in Hindu history might be filled up. The party-spirit of the rival sects of India was, doubtless, adverse to the purity of history ; and the very ground upon which the Brahmans built their ascendency was the ignorance of the people. There appears to have been in India [xiv], as well as in Egypt in early times, a coalition between the hierarchy and the state, with the view of keeping the mass of the nation in darkness and subjugation.
These different records, works of a mixed historical and geographical character which I know to exist ; raesas or poetical legends of princes, which are common ; local Puranas, religious comments, and traditionary couplets ; 1 with authorities of a less dubious character, namely, inscriptions ' cut on the rock,' coins, copper-plate grants, containing charters of immunities, and expressing many singular features of civil government, constitute, as I have already observed, no despicable materials for the historian, who would, moreover, be assisted by the synchronisms which are capable of being established with ancient Pagan and later Muhammadan writers.
From the earliest period of my official connexion with this interesting country, I applied myself to collect and explore its early historical records, with a view of throwing some light upon a people scarcely yet known in Europe and whose political connexion with England appeared to me to be capable of undergoing a material change, with benefit to both parties. It would be wearisome to the reader to be minutely informed of the process I adopted, to collect the scattered relics of Rajput history into the form and substance in which he now sees them. I began with the sacred genealogy from the Puranas ; examined the Mahabharata,
- 1 Some of these preserve the names of princes who invaded India between the time of Mahmud of Ghazni and Shihabu-d-din, who are not mentioned by Ferishta, the Muhammadan historian. The invasion of Ajmer and the capture of Bayana, the seat of the Yadu princes, were made known to us by this means.
and the poems of Chand (a complete chronicle of his times) ; the voluminous historical poems of Jaisalmer, Marwar, and Mewar ; 1 the histories of the Khichis, and those of the Hara princes [xv] of Kotah and Bundi, etc., by their respective bards.
A portion of the materials compiled by Jai Singh of Amber or Jaipur (one of the greatest patrons of science amongst the modern Hindu princes), to illustrate the history of his race, fell into my hands. I have reason to believe that there existed more copious materials, which his profligate descendant, the late prince, in his division of the empire with a prostitute, may have disposed of on the partition of the library of the State, which was the finest collection in Rajasthan. Like some of the renowned princes of Timur's dynasty, Jai Singh kept a diary, termed Kalpadruma, in which he noted every event : a work written by such a man and at such an interesting juncture, would be a valuable acquisition to history. From the Datia prince I obtained a transcript of the journal of his ancestor, who served with such eclat amongst the great feudatories of Aurangzeb's army, and from which Scott made many extracts in his history of the Deccan.
For a period of ten years I was employed, with the aid of a learned Jain, in ransacking every work which could contribute any facts or incidents to the history of the Rajputs, or diffuse any light upon their manners and character. Extracts and versions of all such passages were made by my Jain assistant into the more familiar dialects (which are formed from the Sanskrit) of these tribes, in whose language my long residence amongst them enabled me to converse with facility. At much expense, and during many wearisome hours, to support which required no ordinary degree of enthusiasm, I endeavoured to possess myself not merely of their history, but of their religious notions, their familiar opinions, and their characteristic manners, by
- 1 Of Marwar, there were the Vijaya Vilas, the Surya Prakas, and Khyat, or legends, besides detached fragments of reigns. Of Mewar, there was the Khuman Raesa, a modern work formed from old materials which are lost, and commencing with the attack of Chitor by Mahmud, supposed to be the son of Kasim of Sind, in the very earliest ages of Muhammadanism : also the Jagat Vilas, the Raj-prakas, and the Jaya Vilas, all poems composed in the reigns of the princes whose names they bear, but generally introducing succinctly the early parts of history. Besides these, there were fragments of the Jaipur family, from their archives ; and the Man Charitra, or history
of Raja Man.
[p.lxiii]: associating with their chiefs and bardic chroniclers, and by listening to their traditionary tales and allegorical poems. I might ultimately, as the circle of my [xvi] inquiries enlarged, have materially augmented my knowledge of these subjects ; but ill health compelled me to relinquish this pleasing though toilsome pursuit, and forced me to revisit my native land just as I had obtained permission to look across the threshold of the Hindu Minerva ; whence, however, I brought some relics, the examination of which I now consign to other hands. The large collection of ancient Sanskrit and Bhakha MSS., which I conveyed to England, have been presented to the Royal Asiatic Society, in whose library they are deposited. The contents of many, still unexamined, may throw additional light on the history of ancient India. I claim only the merit of having brought them to the knowledge of European scholars ; but I may hope that this will furnish a stimulus to others to make similar exertions.
The little exact knowledge that Europe has hitherto acquired of the Rajput States, has probably originated a false idea of the comparative importance of this portion of Hindustan. The splendour of the Rajput courts, however, at an early period of the history of that country, making every allowance for the exaggeration of the bards, must have been great. Northern India was rich from the earliest times ; that portion of it, situated on either side the Indus, formed the richest satrapy of Darius. It has abounded in the more striking events which constitute the materials for history ; there is not a petty State in Rajasthan that has not had its Thermopylae, and scarcely a city that has not produced its Leonidas. But the mantle of ages has shrouded from view what the magic pen of the historian might have consecrated to endless admiration : Somnath might have rivalled Delphos ; the spoils of Hind might have vied with the wealth of the Libyan king ; and compared with the array of the Pandus, the army of Xerxes would have dwindled into insignificance. But the Hindus either never had, or have unfortunately lost, their Herodotus and Xenophon.
If " the moral effect of history depend on the sympathy it excites" [xvii], the annals of these States possess commanding interest. The struggles of a brave people for independence during a series of ages, sacrificing whatever was dear to them for the maintenance of the religion of their forefathers, and sturdily
[p.lxiv]: defending to death, and in spite of every temptation, their rights and national liberty, form a picture which it is difficult to contemplate without emotion. Could I impart to the reader but a small portion of the enthusiastic delight with which I have listened to the tales of times that are past, amid scenes where their events occurred, I should not despair of triumphing over the apathy which dooms to neglect almost every effort to enlighten my native country on the subject of India ; nor should I apprehend any ill effect from the sound of names, which, musical and expressive as they are to a Hindu, are dissonant and unmeaning to a European ear : for it should be remembered that almost every Eastern name is significant of some quality, personal or mental. Seated amidst the ruins of ancient cities, I have listened to the traditions respecting their fall ; or have heard the exploits of their illustrious defenders related by their descendants near the altars erected to their memory. I have, whilst in the train of the southern Goths (the Mahrattas), as they carried desolation over the land, encamped on or traversed many a field of battle, of civil strife or foreign aggression, to read in the rude memorials on the tumuli of the slain their names and history. Such anecdotes and records afford data of history as well as of manners. Even the couplet recording the erection of a ' column of victory,' or of a temple or its repairs, contributes something to our stock of knowledge of the past.
As far as regards the antiquity of the dynasties now ruling in Central and Western India, there are but two the origin of which is not perfectly within the limits of historical probability ; the rest having owed their present establishments to the progress of the Muslim arms, their annals are confirmed by those of their conquerors. All the existing [xviii] families, indeed, have attained their present settlements subsequently to the Muhammadan invasions, except Mewar, Jaisalmer, and some smaller principalities in the desert ; whilst others of the first magnitude, such as the Pramara and Solanki, who ruled at Dhar and Anhilwara, have for centuries ceased to exist.
I have been so hardy as to affirm and endeavour to prove the common origin of the martial tribes of Rajasthan and those of ancient Europe. I have expatiated at some length upon the evidence in favour of the existence of a feudal system in India, similar to that which prevailed in the early ages on the European
[p.lxv]: continent, and of which relics still remain in the laws of our own nation. Hypotheses of this kind are, I am aware, viewed with suspicion, and sometimes assailed with ridicule. With regard to the notions which I have developed on these questions, and the frequent allusions to them in the pages of this volume, I entertain no obstinate prepossessions or prejudices in their favour. The world is too enlightened at the present day to be in danger of being misled by any hypothetical writer, let him be ever so skilful ; but the probability is, that we have been induced, by the multitude of false theories which time has exposed, to fall into the opposite error, and that we have become too sceptical with regard to the common origin of the people of the east and west. However, I submit my proofs to the candid judgment of the world ; the analogies, if not conclusive on the questions, are still sufficiently curious and remarkable to repay the trouble of perusal and to provoke further investigation ; and they may, it is hoped, vindicate the author for endeavouring to elucidate the subject, " by steering through the dark channels of antiquity by the feeble lights of forgotten chronicles and imperfect records."
I am conscious that there is much in this work which demands the indulgence of the public ; and I trust it will not be necessary for me to assign a more powerful argument in plea than that which I have already [xix] adverted to, namely, the state of my health, which has rendered it a matter of considerable difficulty, indeed I may say of risk, to bring my bulky materials even into their present imperfect form. I should observe, that it never was my intention to treat the subject in the severe style of history, which would have excluded many details useful to the politician as well as to the curious student. I offer this work as a copious collection of materials for the future historian ; and am far less concerned at the idea of giving too much, than at the apprehension of suppressing what might possibly be useful.
I cannot close these remarks without expressing my obligations to my friend and kinsman, Major Waugh, to the genius of whose pencil the world is indebted for the preservation and transmission of the splendid monuments of art which adorn this work.
Author's introduction to the second volume of the original edition
In placing before the public the concluding volume of the Annals of Rajputana I have fulfilled what I considered to be a sacred obligation to the races amongst whom I have passed the better portion of my life ; and although no man can more highly appreciate public approbation, I am far less eager to court that approbation than to awaken a sympathy for the objects of my work, the interesting people of Rajputana,
I need add nothing to what was urged in the Introduction to the First Volume on the subject of Indian History ; and trust that, however slight the analogy between the chronicles of the Hindus and those of Europe, as historical works, they will serve to banish the reproach, which India has so long laboured under, of possessing no records of past events : my only fear now is, that they may be thought redundant.
I think I may confidently affirm, that whoever, without being alarmed at their bulk, has the patience attentively to peruse these Annals, cannot fail to become well acquainted with all the peculiar features of Hindu society, and will be enabled to trace the foundation and progress of each State in Rajputana, as well as to form a just notion of the character of a people, upon whom, at a future period, our existence in India may depend.
Whatever novelty the inquirer into the origin of nations may find in these [viii] pages, I am ambitious to claim for them a higher title than a mass of mere archaeological data. To see humanity under every aspect, and to observe the influence of different creeds upon man in his social capacity, must ever be one
[p.lxviii]: of the highest sources of mental enjoyment ; and I may hope that the personal qualities herein delineated, will allow the labourer in this vast field of philosophy to enlarge his sphere of acquaintance with human varieties. In the present circumstances of our alliance with these States, every trait of national character, and even every traditional incident, which, by leading us to understand and respect their peculiarities, may enable us to secure their friendship and esteem, become of infinite importance. The more we study their history, the better shall we comprehend the causes of their international quarrels, the origin of their tributary engagements, the secret principles of their mutual repulsion, and the sources of their strength and their weakness as an aggregate body : without which knowledge it is impossible we can arbitrate with justice in their national disputes ; and, as respects ourselves, we may convert a means of defence into a source of bitter hostility.
It has been my aim to diversify as much as possible the details of this volume. In the Annals of Marwar I have traced the conquest and peopling of an immense region by a handful of strangers ; and have dwelt, perhaps, with tedious minuteness on the long reign of Raja Ajit Singh and the Thirty Years' War ; to show what the energy of one of these petty States, impelled by a sense of oppression, effected against the colossal power of its enemies. It is a portion of their history which should be deeply studied by those who have succeeded to the paramount power ; for Aurangzeb had less reason to distrust the stability of his dominion than we have : yet what is now the house of Timur ? The resources of Marwar were reduced to as low an ebb at the close of Aurangzeb's reign, as they are at the present time ; yet did that [ix] State surmount all its difficulties, and bring armies into the field that annihilated the forces of the empire. Let us not, then, mistake the supineness engendered by long oppression, for want of feeling, nor mete out to these high-spirited people the same measure of contumely, with which we have treated the subjects of our earlier conquests.
The Annals of the Bhattis may be considered as the link connecting the tribes of India Proper with the ancient races west of the Indus, or Indo-Scythia ; and although they will but slightly interest the general reader, the antiquary may find in them many new topics for investigation, as well as in the Sketch of the Desert, which has preserved the relics of names that once promised immortality.
Simplicity of the Jat communities
The patriarchal simplicity of the Jat communities, upon whose ruins the State of Bikaner was founded, affords a picture, however imperfect, of petty republics — a form of government little known to eastern despotism, and proving the tenacity of the ancient Gete's attachment to liberty.
Amber, and its scion Shaikhavati, possess a still greater interest from their contiguity to our frontier. A multitude of singular privileges is attached to the Shaikhavati federation, which it behoves the paramount power thoroughly to understand, lest it should be led by false views to pursue a policy detrimental to them as well as to ourselves. To this extensive community belong the Larkhanis, so utterly unknown to us, that a recent internal tumult of that tribe was at first mistaken for an irruption of our old enemies, the Pindaris.
Haraoti may claim our regard from the high bearing of its gallant race, the Haras ; and the singular character of the individual with whose biography its history closes, and which cannot fail to impart juster notions of the genius of Asiatics [x].
So much for the matter of this volume — with regard to the manner, as the Rajputs abhor all jileas ad misericordiam, so like- wise does their annalist, who begs to repeat, in order to deprecate a standard of criticism inapplicable to this performance, that it professes not to be constructed on exact historical principles : Non historia, sed particulae historiae.
In conclusion. I adopt the peroration of the ingenuous, pious, and liberal Abu-l Fazl, when completing his History of the Provinces of India ; " Praise be unto God, that by the assistance of his Divine Grace, I have completed the History of the Rajputs. The account cost me a great deal of trouble in collecting, and I found such difficulty in ascertaining dates, and in reconciling the contradictions in the several histories of the Princes of Rajputana, that I had nearly resolved to relinquish the task altogether : but who can resist the decrees of Fate ? I trust that those, who have been able to obtain better information, will not dwell upon my errors ; but that upon the whole I may meet with approbation." '
- 1 [Ain, ii. 418.]
- York Place, Portman Square,
- March 10, 1832.