Rajasthan: History of Geographical Surveys

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This page is an extract from


Late Political Agent to the Western Rajput States

Edited with an Introduction and Notes by
Hon. D.Sc. Oxon., B.A., F.R.A.l.
Late of the Indian Civil Service

In Three Volumes
[The Annals were completed in 1829]

Oxford University Press
London Edinburgh Glasgow New York
Toronto Melbourne Bombay
1920 [The edition scanned]

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History of Geographical Surveys

The basis of this work is the geography of the country, the historical and statistical por- tion being consequent and subordinate thereto. It was, indeed, originally designed to be essentially geographical ; but circum- stances have rendered it impossible to execute the intended details, or even to make the map2 so perfect as the superabundant material at the command of the author might have enabled him to do ; a matter of regret to himself rather than of loss to the general reader, to whom geographic details, however important, are usually dry and uninteresting.

It was also intended to institute a comparison between the map and such remains of ancient geography as can be extracted from the Puranas and other Hindu authorities ; which, however, must be deferred to a future period, when the deficiency of the 1[Rajputana, as now officially defined, lies between lat. 23° 3' and 30° 12' N., and long. 69° 30' and 78° 17' E., the total area, according to the Census Report, 1911, including Ajmer-Merwara, being 131,698 square miles.] 2 Engraved by that meritorious artist Mr. Walker, engraver to the East India Company, who, I trust, will be able to make a fuller use of my materials hereafter. [This has been replaced by a modern map.] present rapid and general sketch may be supplied, should the author be enabled to resume his labours.

The laborious research, in the course of which these data were accumulated, commenced in 1806. when the author was attached to the embassy sent, at the close of the Mahratta wars, to the court of Sindhia. This chieftain's army was then in Mewar, at that period almost a terra incognita, the position of whose two capitals, Udaipur and Chitor, in the best existing maps, was pre- cisely reversed [3] ; that is, Chitor was inserted S.E. of Udaipur instead of E.N.E., a proof of the scanty knowledge possessed at that period.

In other respects there was almost a total blank. In the maps prior to 1806 nearly all the western and central States of Rajasthan will be found wanting. It had been imagined, but a little time before, that the rivers had a southerly course into the Nerbudda ; a notion corrected by the father of Indian geography, the distin- guished Rennell.1

This blank the author filled up ; and in 1815, for the first time, the geography of Rajasthan was put into combined form and presented to the Marquess of Hastings, on the eve of a general war, when the labour of ten years was amply rewarded by its becoming in part the foundation of that illustrious commander's plans of the campaign. It is a duty owing to himself to state that every map, without exception, printed since this period has its foundation, as regards Central and Western India, in the labours of the author.2

1 [James Uennell, 1742-1830.]

2 When the war of 1817 broke out, copies of my map on a reduced scale were sent to all the divisions of the armies in the field, and came into posses sion of many of the staff. Transcripts were made which were brought to Europe, and portions introduced into every recent map of India. One map has, indeed, been given, in a manner to induce a supposition that the furnisher of the materials was the author of them. It has fulfilled a pre diction of the Marquess of Hastings, who, foreseeing the impossibility of such materials remaining private property, " and the danger of their being appropriated by others," and desirous that the author should derive the full advantage of his labours, had it signified that the claims for recompense, on the records of successive governments, should not be deferred. It will not be inferred the author is surprised at what he remarks. While he claims priority for himself, lie is the last person to wish to see a halt in "For emulation has a thousand sons." 4 GEOGRAPHY OF RAJASTHAN

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