Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Oxford History of Indian Business

Despite the innumerable opinions and the countless debates about its factual authenticity, the economic history of India is fairly well documented.
Gautam Chikermane
Tata Power quotes at Rs 360 today, but did you know that in 1910, even after the success of setting up the Tata Steel plant, the then chairman of the Tata Group, Dorabji Tata, found it difficult to attract Indian investors. Had it not been for Lord Sydenham, the governor of Bombay and some Indian princes, Dorabji may have had to turn to British financiers, “who would have certainly demanded their pound of flesh” through some control over the affairs of the company.
In most of the civilised world, the consumption of addictive opium is considered illegal, but way back in 1784, Bengal was a major exporter of this drug to the “passionately addicted” China, under the direct jurisdiction of the East India Company. In 1818, about 51,000 bighas of land was under poppy cultivation in central India and another 45,500 bighas in north India. Two hundred years ago, junkies of the time must have had a great time in India.
Book review in Outlook Money

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