Todar Mal

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In 1571, he was employed under Muzaffar and in 1572, he served under Akbar against Khan Zaman (vide no 61). [15]

In the 19th year, after the conquest of Patna, he got an Salam and naqqara (A'in 19) and was ordered to accompany MunSim Khan to Bengal. He was the soul of the expedition. In the battle with Da'ud Khan-i-Kharani, when Khan Alam had been killed, and Munsim Khan's horse had run away, the Raja held his ground bravely, and not only was there no defeat but an actual victory. "What harm" said Todar Mal, "if Khan Alam is dead; what fear if the Khan Khanan's horse has run away, the empire is ours!" [15]

In Malwa

Todar Mal
Raja Todar Mall, Finance Minister of Akbar.jpg
Mughal painting of Todar Mal
Diwan-i-Wazarat of the Mughal Empire
In office
1560 – 1589

In July 1564, Todar Mal accompanied Akbar in his campaign against Abdullah Khan Uzbeg, the subahdar of Malwa, who had revolted against the imperial authority. No reason of 'Abdullah's rebellion is furnished by the contemporary writers. Probably, having got the post of a governor he became power-corrupt and decided to become independent. Akbar became very much disturbed and decided to punish him. The emperor started his march on the pretext of elephant hunting on 2 July 1564. The imperial army reached the village Liwani in Indore on 5 August and on the 6th completely defeated 'Abdullah Khan Uzbeg, who fled to Gujarat. The imperial forces returned to the capital on 9 October 1564.

According to Abu-l-Fazl there were 300 officers with the emperor on the day of victory. He gives the name of thirty (30) officers including that of Todar Mal As there is no other mention of Todar Mal's activities, it can be stated that he was with Akbar in his Malwa expedition from start to finish (2 July – 9 October 1564).

As a Finance minister of Akbar

Todar Mal succeeded Khwaja Malik I'timad Khan in 1560. Raja Todar Mal introduced standard weights and measures, a land survey and settlement system, revenue districts and officers. [16] This system of maintenance by Patwari is still used in Indian Subcontinent which was improved by British Raj and Government of India.

Raja Todar Mal, as finance minister of Akbar, introduced a new system of revenue known as zabt and a system of taxation called dahsala . His revenue collection arrangement came to be known as the "Todarmal's Bandobast". [17] [18]

He took a careful survey of crop yields and prices cultivated for a 10-year period 1570–1580. On this basis, tax was fixed on each crop in cash. Each province was divided into revenue circles with their own rates of revenue and a schedule of individual crops. This system was prevalent where the Mughal administration could survey the land and keep careful accounts. For the revenue system, Akbar's territory was divided into 15 Subahs, which were further subdivided into a total of 187 Sarkars across 15 subahs, and those 187 sarkars (sirkar) were further subdivided into a total of 3367 Mahals or Pargana. Several Mahals were grouped into Dasturs, a unit between Mahal and Sirkar. Portion of larger Mahal or Pargana was called taraf. Mahals was subdivided into standardised Bighas. A Bigha was made of 3600 Ilahi Gaj, which is roughly half of modern acre. Unit of measurement was standardised to Ilahi Gaj, which was equivalent to 41 fingers (29-32 inches). Lead measuring rope, called Tenab, was also standardised by joining pieces of Bamboo with iron rings so that the length of Tenab did not vary with seasonal changes. [19] [20]

Sometime between 1582 and 1584, as finance minister, Raja Todar Mal issued a decree which stated that all Mughal administration was to be written in Persian and in the "Iranian style". [21] The decree also stated that the Mughal administration was to be staffed by Iranian and Hindu clerks, secretaries and scribes. [21] His systematic approach to revenue collection became a model for the future Mughals as well as the British.


Todar Mal died in Lahore on 8 November 1589. [22]


The Kashi Vishwanath Temple was rebuilt in 1585 by Todar Mal. [23] [24] This temple was later demolished by Aurangzeb, who had the Gyanvapi Mosque built on its ruins. The current Kashi Vishwanath Temple was built later by Ahilyabai Holkar on an adjacent plot of land.

The academic consensus holds that Persian rose to become the dominant language of the Mughal government after the 1582-1584 administrative decree was issued by Raja Todar Mal. [21] Persian would hold such status within the Mughal bureaucracy all the way into early colonial India; eventually, in the 1830s, it would lose such status as the British made coordinated attempts to replace it with English (see also; English Education Act 1835). [21]

In the historical serial, Bharat Ek Khoj, Todar Mal was played by popular character actor, Harish Patel in the two episodes (Episodes 32 and 33) on the life and times of Emperor Akbar.

Todar Mal is featured in the video games Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods and Kings, and most recently in Sid Meier's Civilization VI as a "great merchant".

In the Indian movie Jodhaa Akbar, Raja Todar Mal is portrayed by Pramod Moutho. In the Indian historical fiction television series Jodha Akbar, Todar Mal is portrayed by Shaurya Singh.

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  13. Hawley, John Stratton (2010). "Seeing the Bhakti Movement". In Ray, Himanshu Prabha (ed.). Archaeology and Text: The Temple in South Asia. Oxford University Press. p. 241. ISBN   978-0-19-806096-3. All of these temples were established through a connection with the Mughal throne—either through Todar Mal, a Kayasth from Avadh, or through a member of the Kacchvaha lineage of eastern Rajasthan—and they bear a definite stylistic similarity, but it seems to owe nothing to the Dravidian south.
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