Todar Mal

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Raja Todar Mall, Finance Minister of Akbar

Raja Todar Mal was born in Laharpur, Uttar Pradesh[1][2] in a Hindu Kayastha family,[3][4][5] and rose to become the Finance Minister in Akbar's Darbar of the Mughal empire.


He was made in charge of Agra and settled in Gujarat. Later, he was made in charge of Gujarat as well. He also managed Akbar's Mint at Bengal as well as served in Punjab. Raja Todarmal built a fortress-palace at Laharpur, Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. Some sources state that Todar Mal was born in Lahore, Punjab but the British misinterpreted it as Laharpur, Awadh, U.P.

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 said that "it was better to go on working and doing good to the world than to go on a piligrimage." 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 Kalyan Das was sent by Todar Mal to bring in the Kumaon Raja. He rose to become the Finance Minister in Akbar's Darbar. Todar Mal overhauled the revenue system of Akbar's Mughal empire. Todar Mal also translated Bhagavata Purana into Persian.

As a soldier[edit]

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

In 971, he was employed under Muzaffar ( 9Bad .1165) and in 972, he served under Akbar against Khan Zaman (vide no 61).[1]


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!"[1]

As a Finance minister of Akbar[edit]

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 practiced 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 finance minister of Akbar introduced a new system of revenue known as zabt and a system of taxation called dahshala.[6] 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 its own rates of revenue and schedule on 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.[7]

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple was rebuilt in 1585 by Todar Mal.[8] He was also responsible for the development of a large temple around the idol of Venkateshwara at Tirumala (Andhra Pradesh), today known as the TTD Balaji Temple of Tirupati. A metal effigy of Todar Mal flanked by his two wives stands at the entrance of the main temple at Tirumala.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

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. ^ Political history, 1542-1605 A.D by Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava. Shiva Lal Agarwala,. 1962. p. 357,364. 
  4. ^ Studies in Social Change by Krishna Swarup Mathur, B. R. K. Shukla, Banvir Singh. Ethnographic & Folk Culture Society. 1973. p. 96. 
  5. ^ Sher Shah and his times by Kalika Ranjan Qanungo. Orient Longmans. 1965. p. 285. 
  6. ^ "Todar Mal". The Reflective Indian. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Akbarnama of Abu Fazl, Volume 3, chpt. 207". 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Tirupati temple - Medieval history". A.P Tourism. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 


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