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Todar Mal

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Todar Mal

Todar Mal
Born Present-day Laharpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died 8 November 1589(1589-11-08)
Present-day Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Religion Hindu
Occupation Finance minister of the Mughal Empire during the reign of Akbar

Raja Todar Mal was born in Laharpur, Uttar Pradesh[1][2] in a Hindu family, was a Kayastha often confused to be Agarwal,[3][4][5][6] Khatri.[7][8][9] He was one of the Navaratnas in Mughal emperor Akbar's Durbar (court) and became the Finance Minister of the Mughal empire.


  • Life 1
  • As a soldier 2
  • As a Finance minister of Akbar 3
  • In popular culture 4
  • References 5
  • Resources 6
  • External links 7


Todar Mal's father died when he was very young leaving no means of livelihood for him. Todar Mal started his career from the humble position of a writer but slowly moved up the ranks when the Afghan[10][11]/Pashtun[12][13][14] king Sher Shah Suri, committed him to the charge of building a new fort of Rohtas in Punjab with the objective of preventing Ghakkar raids and to also act as a barrier to the Mughals in the north-west.[15]

After the Sur dynasty was overthrown by the Mughals, Todar Mal continued in the service of the ruling power, which was now the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Under Akbar, he was placed in charge of Agra. Later, he was made governor of Gujarat. At various times, he also managed Akbar's Mint at Bengal and served in Punjab. Todar Mal's most significant contribution, which is appreciated even today, is that he overhauled the revenue system of Akbar's Mughal empire. Raja Todarmal built a fortress-palace at Laharpur in the Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Beveridge records that Raja Todar Mal had got leave from Akbar and was on his way to Haridwar, but he received a letter from Akbar in which the latter is said to have written that "it was better to go on working and doing good to the world than to go on a pilgrimage." Todar Mal also translated Bhagavata Purana into Persian.

Following Todar Mal's death on 8 November 1589 in Lahore, his body was cremated according to the Hindu traditions. Raja Bhagwan Das, his colleague in the charge of Lahore, was present at the ceremony. Of his two sons, Dhari was killed in a battle in Sindh. Another son, Kalyan Das, was sent by Todar Mal to subdue the Raja of Kumaon in the Himalayas. He rose to become the Finance Minister in Akbar's Darbar.

As a soldier

Todar Mal is recognized as an able warrior, who led in various battles.


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. He can be thought of as one of first statisticians in India, and perhaps in the world. Many of the fundamental data collection schemes as practised over the centuries in the Indian subcontinent and neighboring countries can be attributed to him.Land settlement, equilnace of land is attributed to him. This system of maintenance by Patwari is still used in Indian Subcontinent which was improved by British and Gov of India. Also now GOI had launched Patwari Information system based on GIS for this purpose.

Raja Todar Mal, as finance minister of Akbar, introduced a new system of revenue known as zabt and a system of taxation called dahshala.[16] 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. This system was not applicable in the provinces like Gujarat and Bengal. Todar Mal died in Lahore on 8 November 1589.[17]

There is a Baradari (building) in Chunian of Raja Todar Mal.

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple was rebuilt in 1585 by Todar Mal.[18][19]

In popular culture

Todar Mal is featured in the video game Sid Meier's Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword and Sid Meier's Civilization 5: Gods and Kings as a "great merchant" available in the game.


  1. ^ a b c The Ain i Akbari by Abul Fazlallami, translated from the original Persian, by Heinrich Blochmann and Colonel Henry Sullivan Jarrett, Volume 1, Page 376, Low Price Publications India
  2. ^ The Akbar Nama : Abu-I-Fazl : Translated from the Persian by Henry Beveridge, ICS. Pages : 61-62. Vol. III
  3. ^ Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya (1896). Hindu Castes and Sects: An Exposition of the Origin of the Hindu Caste System and the Bearing of the Sects Towards Each Other and Towards Other Religious Systems. Thacker, Spink & Co. p. 618. Todar Mal, the great Finance Minister of an Akbar was an Agarwal, according to Colonel Tod 
  4. ^ Dwarka Nath Gupta (1999). Socio-cultural History of an Indian Caste. Mittal Publications, New Delhi. p. 15. Two of Akbar's finance ministers - Madhu Sah and Todar Mal are said to have been Agarwals 
  5. ^ Sebastian, Sunny (2006-03-26). "A festival that takes you to Akbar era". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-08-01. The beginning of `mela' goes back to 1851. Raja Todarmal, the Minister of Akbar, was the Badshah in the `mela'. According to legend, the Emperor had given a boon to Todarmal to be in his place for a day. This is the commemoration of that event," Rajesh Chouhan, Sub-Divisional Officer, Beawar, said talking to this correspondent. A person from the Agarwal community got the privilege to don the mantle of the emperor as Todarmal was believed to be from the community, Mr.Chouhan explained. 
  6. ^ "Todarmal?s Moti Mahal decaying".  
  7. ^ Political history, 1542-1605 A.D by Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava. Shiva Lal Agarwala,. 1962. p. 357,364. 
  8. ^ Studies in Social Change by Krishna Swarup Mathur, B. R. K. Shukla, Banvir Singh. Ethnographic & Folk Culture Society. 1973. p. 96. 
  9. ^ Sher Shah and his times by Kalika Ranjan Qanungo. Orient Longmans. 1965. p. 285. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie; Burzine K. Waghmar (2004). The empire of the great Mughals: history, art and culture. Reaktion Books. pp. 28–29.  
  13. ^ Singh, Sarina; Lindsay Brown; Paul Clammer; Rodney Cocks; John Mock (2008). Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway. 7, illustrated. Lonely Planet. p. 137.  
  14. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2003). A Historical Atlas of Pakistan. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 28.  
  15. ^ Saiyid Khan Bahadur, Muḥammad Laṭīf (1896). Agra: Historical & Descriptive with an Account of Akbar and his court. Calcutta Central Press Company. pp. 281–283. 
  16. ^ "Todar Mal". The Reflective Indian. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "The Akbarnama of Abu Fazl, Volume 3, chpt. 207". 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Tirupati temple - Medieval history". A.P Tourism. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 


  • "Abū al-Fażl “ʿAllāmī” ibn Mubārak, Šayḫ" and "The Ain i Akbari", vol. 1. Persian Texts in Translation, The Packard Humanities Institute.
  • The Akbarnama also is available online at:

External links

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