The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire

The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire[PDF / Epub] ✅ The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire Author William Dalrymple – Heartforum.co.uk The story of how the East India Company took over large swaths of Asia, and the devastating results of the corporation running a countryIn August , the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emp The story of how the East India The East PDF ´ Company took over large swaths of Asia, and the devastating results of the corporation running a countryIn August , the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and set up, in his place, a government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a private armyThe creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional company and became The Anarchy: ePUB × something much unusual an international corporation transformed into an aggressive colonial power Over the course of the nextyears, the company s reach grew until almost all of India south of Delhi was effectively ruled from a boardroom in the city of London.

William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and The East PDF ´ brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller In Xanadu when he was twenty two The book won the Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award it was also shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial PrizeIn Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for six years researching his second book, City of The Anarchy: ePUB × Djinns, which won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award From the Holy Mountain, his acclaimed study of the demise of Christianity in its Middle Eastern homeland, was awarded the Scottish Arts Council Autumn Book Award for it was also shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize A collection of his writings about India, The Age Anarchy: The East Kindle Õ of Kali, won the French Prix D Astrolabe in White Mughals was published in , the book won the Wolfson Prize for History , the Scottish Book of the Year Prize, and was shortlisted for the PEN History Award, the Kiryama Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial PrizeWilliam Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and is the founder and co director of the Jaipur Literature Festival In he was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his outstanding contribution to travel literature He wrote and presented the television series Stones of the Raj and Indian Journeys, which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in His Radio series on the history of British spirituality and mysticism, The Long Search, won the Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting and was described by the judges as thrilling in its brilliance near perfect radio In December his article on the madrasas of Pakistan was awarded the prize for Best Print Article of the Year at the FPA Media Awards In June he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of St Andrews for his services to literature and international relations, to broadcasting and understanding In , The Last Moghal won the prestigous Duff Cooper Prize for History and Biography In November , William received an Honourary Doctorate of Letters, honoris causa, from the University of Lucknow University for his outstanding contribution in literature and history , and in March won the James Todd Memorial Prize from the Maharana of UdaipurWilliam is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children They now live on a farm outside Delhi.

The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence,
  • Hardcover
  • 544 pages
  • The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire
  • William Dalrymple
  • English
  • 08 September 2019
  • 1635573955

10 thoughts on “The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire

  1. Petra-X says:

    Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned, they therefore do as they like British Lord Chancellor, Edward, First Baron Thurlow 1731 1806 You can t fine them either Any financial penalty will just mean less taxes that they have to pay, and less bonuses to the shareholders The CEO and executives will just happily carry on and award themselves even bigger salaries as and when they please.How the British added India to their Empire started with the world s f Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned, they therefore do as they like British Lord Chancellor, Edward, First Baron Thurlow 1731 1806 You can t fine them either Any financial penalty will just mean less taxes that they have to pay, and less bonuses to the shareholders The CEO and executives will just happily carry on and award themselves even bigger salaries as and when they please.How the British added India to their Empire started with the world s first corporation, the East India Company, based in London but operating in India It grew so big and set itself up in opposition to the Indian government as a land owner and tax collector with a huge army When circumstances, a famine that meant despite draconian measures to try and collect taxes from the starving people, who mostly died, meant the company could not meet its financial responsibilities it needed massive loans and banks all over Europe failed Eventually the British Government nationalised the company and this was called conquering India.This was the first company in the world that needed a government to bail it out And became the very model for our modern multinationals who try and dominate governments in the countries they operate in and should they falter, expect our governments to bail them out, even to the extent of military action That is the only difference with the East India Company it maintained a huge and very vicious army, these days we, through our taxes maintain the armies that defend, at times, the interests of these multinational companies when they fall foul of the governments they have failed to manipulate Nothing can make them pay their fair share of taxes, treat their world wide employees with respect and decent pay, nothing can stop their unbridled drive for profits, for money for themselves and their partners in crime, the shareholders You know all the names Google, Exxon, Facebook, Shell, Ford, Walmart and others bigger, smaller and dare I say it, perhaps I d better not actually name names, but a company much closer to our home

  2. Murtaza says:

    The question of how a relatively small group of Englishmen was able to subjugate the entire sprawling nation of India is a source of lasting disquiet Like all of William Dalrymple s books, this history of the East India Company inspires both awe and melancholy The EIC arrived in India at a moment in which the power of the Mughal Empire had already been shattered Aurangzeb had mismanaged his realms, and Maratha and Afghan forces were rising on its peripheries The death blow to Mughal power ho The question of how a relatively small group of Englishmen was able to subjugate the entire sprawling nation of India is a source of lasting disquiet Like all of William Dalrymple s books, this history of the East India Company inspires both awe and melancholy The EIC arrived in India at a moment in which the power of the Mughal Empire had already been shattered Aurangzeb had mismanaged his realms, and Maratha and Afghan forces were rising on its peripheries The death blow to Mughal power however had been dealt by the Safavid Persian invader Nader Shah, who had sacked the great city of Delhi and carried its riches back to Iran The Anarchy of the title refers to the state of India at the time of the EIC s arrival and thereafter one in which a mighty empire had fragmented into countless warring polities A small group of energetic, ambitious and well funded outsiders can wreak havoc in such a situation And wreak havoc they did The EIC started off by asking for commercial rights They soon graduated to hiring increasingly powerful mercenary armies and using them to impose their will on local Indian rulers amid The Anarchy They played off rivals against one another and did not hesitate to pick and choose their preferred candidates and engineer their rise The EIC followed Tacitus dictum of picking the native rulers who would be most useful for enslaving the population rather than ruling directly They won control of taxation rights and used them to press for the most devastatingly extractive terms possible, with no interest in long term sustainability or the wellbeing of the land and people Rival merchants were bullied and, if necessary, beaten into doing business on the EIC s gallingly unfair terms They created a mechanism for the ruthless, methodical plunder of India, engineering a massive extraction of wealth such as the world has seldom seen It was corporate brigandage of a type that still looks disturbingly familiar today, even without the mercenary armies It was interesting to note that the Indians actually figured out the British game quite quickly Local rulers like the Maratha statesman Nana Phadnavis and Tipu Sultan of Mysore grasped that the British had designs to conquer and effectively enslave all of India by playing local rivals off against each other Religious boundaries werefluid than today and Hindu and Muslim rulers frequently allied with one another and kept diverse courts With the help of the French, they also developed modern military commands that were able to match the British in time There were several military campaigns that nearly succeeded in ejecting the EIC from the country Agonizingly small turns of fate prevented them from reaching success, thus was India doomed to two centuriesof grinding immiseration.An important lesson of the book is that sectarianism was less of a force in India s history than portrayed today It was the Hindu Marathas who reinstalled the Mughal Shah Alam in Delhi even though in the end his dynasty wound up a mere puppet of the British until the 1857 War of Independence Tipu Sultan, though proudly Muslim, also seemed to have been deeply influenced by many Hindu beliefs and practices This is totally normal given that Islam was practiced in a Hindu environment for over a millennia in India Tipu patronized Brahmin institutions and worked actively to win the sympathy of his Hindu subjects The undercurrent of the book is a rebuttal to the sectarian historiography of Hindu nationalists currently in vogue in India, as well as Islamists who idealize a supposedly purified subcontinental vision of religion.The history of India as a whole is a heartbreaking one Even granting that, the rule of the EIC is a particularly grim episode The British conquered India, but, unlike the Persians, Turks and Arabs, they refused to dissolve themselves in the great ocean of Indian civilization They just extracted and extracted The EIC operated with the singleminded, sociopathic purpose that only an inhuman social technology like the corporation could muster Dalrymple describes in great detail how the Bengal was totally despoiled and tell into famine not long after the British took power I would have appreciatedanalysis of the long term financial cost of this enterprise to India, but quite a vivid picture is still painted here from contemporary reports of the period The entire country of India was gradually stripped of its wealth, which was shipped back to a distant European island Even coins themselves quickly became hard to find in India Any ruler of nobility found themselves quickly at the risk of violence A new class of financiers allied to the British began to rise during the EIC s rule, replacing the famous Jagat Seth bankers This new class would end up appreciating the colonial period Many new local rulers were simply criminals predators and opportunists unleashed by the collapse of order British liberal opinion was quite harsh on the EIC s excesses and its rapacity was known as far away as America Edmund Burke gave a famous speech denouncing the company and American revolutionaries used it as a bogeyman to goad their countrymen into revolt The EIC hardly bothered to hide who they were At one point the famous British General Arthur Wellesley literally held a toast to the corpse of India , after which one of the chapters of this book is titled Although a few EIC officials wound up being lovers of India, many of the rank and file were brutal and incurious men who felt nothing about humiliating, bludgeoning and robbing Indians of every class Sadly the British yoke was not thrown off India sooner We are still living with the painful results of their extractive and divisive rule

  3. Ashish Iyer says:

    Okay guys here is my longest review To be honest I am not a fan of long reviews Even if I come across any long reviews of my friends, I mostly ignore or just read 2 paragraphs I have huge respect for friends it s just me who is lazy enough to not read those long reviews I am writing this review to justify why I am giving 2 stars to this book considering it has got 4.23 5 stars 199 ratings I had always been curious how the British had conquered India, with so few troops The East India Okay guys here is my longest review To be honest I am not a fan of long reviews Even if I come across any long reviews of my friends, I mostly ignore or just read 2 paragraphs I have huge respect for friends it s just me who is lazy enough to not read those long reviews I am writing this review to justify why I am giving 2 stars to this book considering it has got 4.23 5 stars 199 ratings I had always been curious how the British had conquered India, with so few troops The East India Company was the first major multi national company It came to exist in 1600 with the help of Sir Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake and included veteran Caribbean, pirates and thieves They set up the company to buy spices directly from the producers East Indies and avoid middle man Arabs to pay any further commission After severalbruising encounters with Dutch, the EIC directors decided they had little option but to leave the lucrative Spice Islands Indonesia and their aromatic spice trade to the Dutch and focus instead on less competitive but potentiallypromising sectors of the trade of Asia fine cotton textiles, indigo and chintzes The source of all three of these luxuries was India India then had a population of 150 million about a fifth of the world s total and was producing about a quarter of global manufacturing indeed, in many ways it was the world s industrial power house and the world s leader in manufactured textiles Not for nothing are so many English words connected with weaving chintz, calico, shawl, pyjamas, khaki, dungarees, cummerbund, taffetas of Indian origin.Before reaching India, England was very poor country compares to their rivals Portugal and Spain Massive imports of New World gold had turned Spain into the richest country in Europe, and given Portugal control of the seas and spices of the East, so bringing it in a close second place After reaching India they became richest and most powerful country This tells us that India was indeed golden bird By eighteenth century standards, it was an economic giant, the most advanced capitalist organization in the world East India Company became most powerful in England after the monarch.Roe wrote a wonderful love letter to Elizabeth, Lady Huntingdon, from Indya on 30 October 1616 I would like to thank Charlotte Merton for sending me this reference So this tells us that India was known during those times This gives answer to those who keep on pushing the narrative that India became a country or known after independence Or some even gives credit to Britishers for making India as one One thing i have seen common in every Muslim kings, they always loot everything, take women from other religion, ask men to convert who are not Muslim and change name of every city like Siraj Ud Daula renamed Calcutta to Alianagar after Imam Ali Siraj ud Daulah was a pervert who often picked Hindu girls Even Jagat Seth s daughter was his prey And he enjoyed atrocities against Hindus Mir Jafar stood by the people of Bengal though with other intentions.Book also mentioned Shah Alam emperor of Delhi had intimate relationship with his adopted son Ghulam Qadir I have always come across this kind homosexual relation in them Later book also mentioned that Ghulam Qadir was castrated because he was getting too much attention from females of the royal harem And later this Ghulam Qadir took a revenge on Shah Alam by plucking his eyes and putting needles on Shah Alam s princes and ask them to dance in front of all Then later he ordered to beat wives of Shah Alam senseless and throw them back into prison.I will talk about Tipu Sultan in details later Lets get back to Britishers now The British felt nothing for the country, not even for their closest allies and servants This was why those Indians who initially welcomed the British quickly changed their minds because these new rulers pay no regard to the concerns of Hindustanis, and suffered them to be mercilessly plundered, fleeced, oppressed and tormented by those officers of their appointing.The Bengal famine was so immense that EIC had outdone the Spaniards in Peru They were at least butchers on a religious principle, however diabolical their zeal We have murdered, deposed, plundered, usurped say what think you of the famine in Bengal, in which three millions perished, being caused by a monopoly of the provisions by the servants of the East India Company All this is come out, is coming out unless the gold that inspired these horrors can quash them The revenue of Eic was so low in Bengal that one bank declared bankruptcy At the same time it was widely recognized that it was Indian wealth that was now helping propel Britain s economy and that the first and most immediate consequence of the failure of the EIC would be national bankruptcy.I was expecting writer will also mentioned about Madras famine after all it was E.I.C s first Indian colonized city 20 Oct 1877 there was drawing published in London depicting starving people awaiting famine relief in Bangalore, India Famine began in 1876, and while around 5.5m Indians starved to death 100,000s of tonnes of food was exported to England with almost no relief Even there is a painting in google, I think you can find it.At times I felt this book has heavily used sources and references from Ghulam Hussain Khan and London museum It was irritating for a while Author was keep on pushing the narrative that Jagat Seths financed East India Company but what author is not telling is you that Jagat Seths also financed Marathas and Sadhus At one point, they were desperately trying to finance anyone who could get rid of their Nawab, the Jihadi rapist Siraj ud daulah Note Even Bhama Shah was a Jain who gave all his wealth to Maharana Pratap so that Mewar could fight against Akbar which eventually allowed him to restore his army and much of his territory I hated the way writer keep on saying Maratha as a war lords No they weren t It is important to note that Marathas were in Punjab, Delhi, Malwa, Gujarat, the doab, Karnataka all parts of Maharashtra, Nizam s territory, Rajputana, Thanjavur They had that big empire Every time one talks of Marathas in Bengal, one must also mention that it was another Maratha army under the Peshwa that chased away Raghuji Bhonsle from Bengal The repetitive refrain of Maratha raids in Bengal as the single most barbaric invasions are a skewed by the British initially I guess it made perfect sense for them to portray themselves as a better alternative Maratha rulers gave due importance to provincial administration Gwalior, Dhar, Indore, Baroda, Nagpur, Thanjavur It was similar to that of feudalism in Europe and even Vijaynagara empire had same system The Maratha rulers efficiently managed their army and taxation in their capital city of Pune Satara and other provinces through this system I find no mentioned of this too The fact that many Indian institutions were destroyed by the British and how they introduced their education system is well presented The case of the famines that the British caused by diverting grain from India is well written Industrial Revolution was built on Indian money, while destroying India s economy is again well explained The Hindu Muslim divide was created by the British.I recently read somewhere that Britain ruled India for about 200 years, a period that was marred with extreme poverty and famine India s wealth depleted in these two centuries The scars of colonization remain despite Britain leaving India over 70 years ago Between 1765 and 1938, the drain amounted to 9.2 trillion pounds 45 trillion.I thought author will talk about Atrocity literature written by Britishers against India and Hindus British Evangelicals and missionaries anxious to Anglicize and Christianize India by using an extinct practice of Sati They did their best to portray Hinduism in the worst possible way and on other side they open up the country to religious conversion The fabrication of evidence, the wanton exaggeration of data, the shameless duplicity of foreign players, rabid evangelical motivations and cold blooded manipulations of public policy Why doesn t writer talk about missionaries, how they wanted to convert India And how can we forget about Criminal Tribes Act 1857 brought by British to banned certain tribes It was a law to control thuggee tribes If you are born from that tribe, you will have to face consequences Such are atrocities literature or law written by these Britishers Now thug became a curse word in English dictionary.The most saddening and horrifying part is how writer is glorifying Tipu Sultan Tipu Sultan was the massive destroyer of Temples in south started his career from Shringa pattanam The walls of the Jama Masjid built by Tipu sultan in Srirangapatam tell a different story You can see base of temples I so wish I could upload photos here to show it here as a proof Tipu Sultan was a freedom fighter because he fought the British Though he sought to establish an Islamic Caliphate, invited the Afghan king to invade India and collaborated with the French, and was defeated by a combined force of the British, Marathas and the Nizam He imported French officers to train his troops and French engineers to rebuild the defenses of the island fortress of Srirangapatnam Author only mentioned this Of the 7,000 prisoners Tipu captured in the course of the next few months of warfare against the Company, around 300 were forcibly circumcised, forcibly converted to Islam and given Muslim names and clothes By the end of the year, one in five of all the British soldiers in India were held prisoner by Tipu in his sophisticated fortress of Seringapatam Evenhumiliatingly, several British regimental drummer boys were made to wear dresses ghagra cholis and entertain the court in the manner of nautch dancing girls.Look how insidiously an idea is buttressed with careful deletion of facts As an example of British hardheartedness, our eminences harped on the British taking Tipu s two sons as hostages However they concealed the fact that taking war hostages was originally accepted practice among Muslim kings Mir jumla, a general under Aurangzeb, defeated and looted the entire treasury of the king of Assam And he didn t stop there He demanded King s sons and a daughter as ransom till the King brought the remaining amount Mir Jumla also took son of Gonia Phukan, Borgohain, Gad Gonia When Khurram s Shah Jahan rebellion against his own father failed, Jahangir took his son s sons his own grandsons, Dara and Aurangzeb as captives Even Rajputs king had to station atleast one son in the badshah s court as a sign of respect Only Maharana Pratap refused to send his son It is also a fact that every such prisoner was compulsorily converted But Cornvolis who took Tipu s sons didn t convert them to Christianity Even author didnt mentioned the fact Tipu s father Hyder Ali who backstabbed his King Wodeyar changed the administrative language from Kannada to Farsi You can still see this even today And how can we forget Tipu the mass murderer changed the name of entire cities and town Brahmapuri to Syltanpet, Kallikote to Farookabad, Chitradurga to Farook yab Hissar, Coorg to Zafarabad, Devanahalli to Yusufabad, Dinigul to Khaleelabad, Mysore to Nazarabad There are many such names How can we forget Tipu s atrocities on Malabar areas To this day Mandyam Iyengars of Karnataka dont celebrate Diwali The so called Tiger of Mysore massacred close to 800 Mandyam Iyengar men, women and children in cold blood in the town of Melkote This incident is not mentioned in this book The writer gleefully praising him To this day Mandyam Iyengars don t celebrate Diwali If i can tell you huge biased in Tipu Sultan narrative in this book because i have read some books on him God knows how much biased writer much be on Bengal, Delhi and Maratha There are so many things to point out but i don t have that much time to mentioned all that here These kind of books set bad precedent Even you can see this book have high ratings.This book goes in details of EIC s violence on India and of the loot of India I felt that book will also talk about first war of Independence It s the British who called the 1857 uprising as sepoy mutiny to downplay the inhuman excessees that violate human rights I am honestly a bit disappointed from this book I was expecting lot of things from this because this was a great topic Even book didn t talk about Sikh empire I would have appreciated if author had mentionedabout EIC rather than internal empires politics and wars, it would have been better Even I thought author will write an account of the atrocities committed by British rule on Indian economy, politics and culture Somehow I felt author cherry picked his sources and references to push his narrative If this is the way he writes all his books then I am not going to read any other books of his This books is my first and probably the last book of William Dalrymble.Just as medieval mosques were built from the rubble of India s great temples, all the glitter of the modern west is the dust of the India s past

  4. David Wineberg says:

    The story of the East India Company, nominally of London, is a huge, sprawling, fascinating and gripping collection of great stories The stories are of wars, battles, heroes, cowards, lovers, fools, incompetents, rape, plunder, torture and death Lots of death William Dalrymple has linked the stories into the history of the Company, that unregulated, arrogant and racist firm that took over the Indian subcontinent, piece by piece from the early 1700s, and held it and milked it until 1859 when The story of the East India Company, nominally of London, is a huge, sprawling, fascinating and gripping collection of great stories The stories are of wars, battles, heroes, cowards, lovers, fools, incompetents, rape, plunder, torture and death Lots of death William Dalrymple has linked the stories into the history of the Company, that unregulated, arrogant and racist firm that took over the Indian subcontinent, piece by piece from the early 1700s, and held it and milked it until 1859 when the British government took over the milking and abuse itself The Anarchy of the title refers to what Indians call the Great Anarchy, a period as the British showed up when constant wars and invasions redistributed concentrated the wealth continuously, and when no one was ever quite sure whose empire they were living in from one year to the next The various Emperors, nabobs, nawabs, viziers and shahs were constantly making alliances, ignoring them, going to war, combining, separating, and killing Always killing Piles of bodies and rivers of blood And betraying Almost as much betraying as killing it often seems It makes for a riveting read, which becomesamazing the farther you get into it Dalrymple keeps up the pace and entrances with remarkable stories.India was a dependable engine of wealth From its fabrics to its jewels, its gold to its spices, it was forever creating wealth Every so often, an intruder would swoop in from the next province or from Afghanistan, clean out the treasury and take every last thing of value from everyone Plus future reparations And yet, a few years later, there was prosperity once again There was always wealth for bribes, and everyone was on the take, from Company employees up to royalty And the figures were huge Prosperity and chaos in one huge package This was the cycle the Company stumbled into It began as a combination of small firms of English traders and pirates to better exploit Indian trade It had a public share basis, and soon nearly half the members of parliament and the House of Lords were shareholders, and therefore compromised in their dealings with it The dividends were gigantic, as a ship bringing Indian goods home would regularly net four times their cost The ship would then return to India, loaded with gold and silver for the next shipment.This was not good enough.The Company wormed its way into Indian politics, allying with one potentate or another as needed to maintain its presence and expand it It would pay taxes or not as it positioned itselfandfirmly as a power on its own Its employees were on the take, doing side deals and making fortunes for themselves, which they shipped back to England on Company boats, drainingwealth from India.The tipping point seems to have come in 1761, Dalrymple says The Company now had as many as 500 factories running throughout eastern India Bengal, Orissa and Bihar It had actually founded Calcutta for a factory and it attracted traders and workers, becoming a major city and port, as well as the Company s head office in India Even then, Indians recognized it as the threat it could clearly become.After endless complaints about the arrogance and extortion by the Company Men as they entered a village all the shops would close and pedestrians fled , the Nawab Mir Qasim in whose territory the Company was located got creative He decided not to fight The Company not only trained local sepoys in English style warfare, but hired mercenaries and press ganged French soldiers into serving So rather than fight, Qasim decided to end all duties, leveling the playing field Until this point, the Company simply refused to pay, giving it an unfair advantage over Indian traders, who had to The Nawab calculated that increasing business for native traders would compensate for the loss of duties This cost his treasury, and infuriated the Company Qasim had to go.By 1763 the Company had transformed into an autonomous imperial power Dalrymple says, with its own army, navy, and designs on the whole subcontinent As it took on Qasim s territory, it taxed like any other potentate hugely and harshly, so that ships from home didn t have to bring gold any longer The company became self financing This didn t stop greedy and incompetent mangers from nearly bankrupting it several times Between the shareholders in power and being too big to fail, bailout loans always appeared when needed.By the 1770s, even Parliament had to take notice In 1774, the first parliamentary oversight committee landed in Calcutta and was immediately offended that they only received a 17 gun salute instead of 21, thus establishing their priorities They were further horrified that the governor general received them for luncheon in informal attire not even a ruffled shirt Real governance issues and political priorities could clearly wait.By far the most revolting section concerns Ghulam Qadir s sacking of Delhi The personal horrors he inflicted are as brutal as anything ever printed, and indeed, British readers were originally denied the sight by censors He blinded people with hot needles, gouged out their eyes, took everything they had including their clothes, and those he didn t kill he threw in prison without food or water As he left with everything his army could carry, he blew up what remained When he was finally caught, he was treated the same way He was chained up and paraded in a cage for three days Day one his eyes were scooped out, day two his ears cut off and hung around his neck, followed cutting off his hands, feet and genitals When he was eventually killed, his headless body was hung in public and a dog licked up the blood until a few days later, when both disappeared This gory horror was followed by an absurd and fraudulent show trial back in London, the social hit of the season, in which the Company s head man in India faced impeachment Ironically, of course, Governor General Warren Hastings had been the most effective, efficient and compassionate of the Company s leaders, tasked with cleaning up the mess of his predecessors Edmund Burke, the prosecutor, took four days just to make his opening remarks, all but entirely false accusations It was a litany of lies perpetrated by one man on that original parliamentary committee visit, Philip Francis Francis simply hated Hastings and would stoop to absolutely anything to undermine him, right up to phony impeachment charges In this story, Francis, with no knowledge of weapons whatsoever, challenged Hastings to a duel Hastings let him shoot first, then shot him Sadly, Francis survived, now evendetermined than ever to take Hastings down He returned to London and worked Parliament to denounce him.The man they should have prosecuted, Robert Clive, was instead a national hero and one of the richest men in Europe as a result of his machinations in India Clive was uncontrollably violent which is why he was sent away to India , ruthless, corrupt and smarmy, and that s why the Company had him back for three tours of duty Despite his fortune s , Clive ended up committing suicide.A highly intelligent and hardworking lifelong Company man, Hastings had to stand by and witness it all, noting down everything along the way Back in England, after seven years of idiotic hearings, Hastings was finally cleared Completely But rather than learn from this, the men the Company sent as a series of his successors, each proved far worse than anything Hastings was ever charged with.His immediate successor, Lord Cornwallis, had recently managed to lose the 13 colonies that became the USA He set out to avenge himself He went to war of course, greatly expanding the Company s territory, implemented racist laws such as keeping the children of mixed marriages out of the Company, and as Dalrymple explains it, prevented a middle class that could rise up against him as in the USA His approach to India was ancient Roman 1 divide and conquer, lying to allies keep them out of battles as needed, and then attack them when convenient, and 2 Buy the local potentates, give them salaries, and let the citizenry think they still had independence and integrity personal, political and territorial Much like the USA replacing foreign governments as needed to keep its trade unhindered, so the Company used everyone to expand on the ground.Cornwallis was followed by the arrogant Lord Wellesley, and his younger brother Arthur, who later became the Duke of Wellington When the last Indian leader s troops were defeated, its people raped, tortured and killed, its wealth pillaged and plundered, Governor General Lord Wellesley proposed a toast to the corpse of India Wellesley went his own way, communicating little with head office, eventually bagging almost all of India before he was recalled.By the early 1800s the Company s private army stood at 195,000, twice the size of the British army Its spending in Britain alone amounted to a quarter as much as government expenditure The entire London headquarters staff of the Company numbered all of 35, in a building just five windows wide And this was the largest company in the world From there, they directed the conquest and acquisition of the entire Indian subcontinent and hundreds of millions of people It was not just too big to fail, it was an actual threat As Jeff Mulgan said elsewhere It used to be that the banks feared the sovereign Now the sovereign fears the banks So with the East India Company, the poster child for rampant unregulated corporate greed.By 1859, after just 150 years, even the government had had enough and took control of India itself, merging the Company s army into the British army and disbanding its navy Things did not get better.Dalrymple ends by showing how gigantic multinationals have mutated into not needing expensive armies and navies to effect their conquests They use big data, surveillance, lobbying and influence instead He says the history of the East India Company has never beenrelevant than it is today So it s not just great storytelling, it s a look in the mirror.David Wineberg

  5. ·Karen· says:

    Outstanding.William Dalrymple has the most felicitous ability to turn extensive research into a riveting narrative And unlike a historian such as, say, James Mill, who wrote his History of British India 1818 a standard work for generations of British students without ever once setting foot in India, Dalrymple is scrupulous in using a variety of sources, not just the Company s own archives in the National Archive of India, but also contemporary Mughal historians such as Ghulam Hussain Khan Outstanding.William Dalrymple has the most felicitous ability to turn extensive research into a riveting narrative And unlike a historian such as, say, James Mill, who wrote his History of British India 1818 a standard work for generations of British students without ever once setting foot in India, Dalrymple is scrupulous in using a variety of sources, not just the Company s own archives in the National Archive of India, but also contemporary Mughal historians such as Ghulam Hussain Khan, or Fakir Khair ud Din He is, too, scrupulous in his portrayal of the innate and rather ludicrous sense of superiority entertained by envoys to the fabulously wealthy and cultivated Mughal court, a sense that led them to believe the Emperor must surely be desperate to do trade with a foggy nation so far away Having already failed to impress Jahangir a couple of times, in 1615 the East India Company persuaded King James to send a royal envoy The man chosen was a courtier, MP, diplomat,explorer, Ambassador to the Sublime Porte and self described man of quality , Sir Thomas Roe. Roe was suitably dazzled by the unimaginable splendour and sumptuous riches of the Mughal court, describing it at length in his diaries He struggled to interest the Emperor in trade, but managed, after three years at court to obtain permission to build a trading station in Surat Dalrymple gives us this telling insight For all the reams written by Roe on Jahangir, the latter did not bother to mention Roe once in his voluminous diaries.But for all the supple and engaging style, the tale Dalrymple presents is a shocking one of barbarity, extortion and pillage It cannot be an accident that the word loot is of Hindi origin And sometimes I could have wished for a less scrupulous portrayal of the stomach churning violence inflicted, say, by the Rohilla Ghulam Qadir in revenge for his capture after the siege of Pathargarh From the introduction As with all such corporations, then as now, the EIC was answerable only to its shareholders With no stake in the just governance of the region, or its long term well being, the Company s rule quickly turned into the straightforward pillage of Bengal, and the rapid transfer westwards of its wealth.Before long the province, already devastated by war, was struck down by the famine of 1769, then further ruined by high taxation Company tax collectors were guilty of what was then described as the shaking of the pagoda tree what today would be described as major human rights violations committed in the process of gathering taxes Bengal s wealth rapidly drained into Britain, while its prosperous weavers and artisans were coerced like so many slaves by their new masters. Fat cats lining their own pockets while the company they work for almost runs aground, Government bail outs because the corporation is too big to fail , there are obvious analogies to be drawn here But thankfully, at least nowadays huge multinational conglomerates do not run armies double the size of contemporary nations military capability

  6. Dmitri says:

    William Dalrymple tells how a single business operation replaced the Mughal empire to rule the Indian subcontinent The East India Company was a first major multi national corporation, and an early example of a joint stock enterprise Most events occur between 1756 1803, around the time of the American and French revolutions The story begins in 1599 with the charter of the Company, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the lifetime of Shakespeare.The Company was preceded by Walter Raleigh a William Dalrymple tells how a single business operation replaced the Mughal empire to rule the Indian subcontinent The East India Company was a first major multi national corporation, and an early example of a joint stock enterprise Most events occur between 1756 1803, around the time of the American and French revolutions The story begins in 1599 with the charter of the Company, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the lifetime of Shakespeare.The Company was preceded by Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake and included veteran Carribean privateers, state sponsored pirates who attacked the Spanish armada for gold and silver The first Company voyage brought back spice from Indonesia by robbing a Portuguese ship Outdone by the Dutch in the spice trade, the Company began trade in India with the benefits of a British monopoly, license to raise an army and seize territory, all endorsed by the Crown.At the time of the Company s expansion of power the Mughal Empire had been weakened by a series of invasions and internal conflicts Increasing intolerance had pushed Maratha rebels under Shivaji to strike north from the Deccan plateau in the late 17th century Sikhs struck south from the Punjab Prince fought against prince In 1739 the Persian warlord Nader Shah sacked Delhi, and made off with the spoils of an empire The period is known as the Anarchy.Construction of fortifications at a British port in Bengal provoked the local Nawab and Mughal army to destroy the trading post in 1756 Captured British were thrown into the so called Black Hole of Calcutta where a significant number died from trampling and suffocation Robert Clive, a violent and ruthless soldier of fortune hired by the Company, would defeat and plunder the Mughals and oust the French from Bengal, returning home the richest man in Europe.In 1764 the Company put down a Mughal rebellion, and replaced the empire as tax collectors of the wealthiest lands on the subcontinent The Company amassed a private army twice the size of Britain s Draught, famine and Company hoarding caused a massive bailout in 1773 by the Crown Tea shipped west triggered the American revolution, and opium shipped east resulted in war with China At it s height the Company accounted for half of the world s trade.Much is covered during forty years Warren Hastings, Clive s successor as governor of Bengal, attempted to reform the worst excesses of Company rule, and was put on trial by his rival countrymen His successor would be Cornwallis, the general who surrendered the American colonies to Washington Tipu Sultan, Tiger of Mysore , was sought as an ally by Napoleon, until foiled by Nelson at the Nile Tipu was defeated by Wellington of future Waterloo fame Dalrymple doesn t mince words about events that occured, nor do eyewitnesses of the period On British incursions before the battle of Plassey What honor is left us when we take orders from a handful of traders On the handover of the Mughal empire after the battle of Buxar The entire transaction took less time than the sale of a jackass All was realized under withering fire of artillery, executed by Indians armed and trained by the Company.Dalrymple s unifying narrative source is the Mughal court historian Ghulam Hussain Khan s epic Review of Modern Times He also scoured the India Office collection in London and National Archives in Delhi As noted in the introduction English and Mughal records of the period are extensive Primarily a military account, his contribution is gathering and presenting it all in an entertaining and edifying manner His talent for storytelling is clearly shown.For a look at what corporate capitalism can be, this is a fascinating case The Company thrivedthan 200 years ago Some things have changed, others have not Territorial takeover is frowned upon, but economic conquest is far from over Corporations, lobbyists and politicians can effectively do the same work The will to profit, avoid regulation and taxes, is intrinsic Dalrymple does not state this explicitly in the text, but the parallels are evident

  7. Mike says:

    In less than fifty years, a multinational corporation had seized control of almost all of what had once been Mughal India It had also, by this stage, created a sophisticated administration and civil service, built much of London s docklands and come close to generating half of Britain s trade Its annual spending within Britain alone around 8.5 million equalled about a quarter of total British government annual expenditure No wonder the Company now referred to itself as the grandest s In less than fifty years, a multinational corporation had seized control of almost all of what had once been Mughal India It had also, by this stage, created a sophisticated administration and civil service, built much of London s docklands and come close to generating half of Britain s trade Its annual spending within Britain alone around 8.5 million equalled about a quarter of total British government annual expenditure No wonder the Company now referred to itself as the grandest society of merchants in the Universe Its armies were larger than those of almost all nation states and its power now encircled the globe indeed, its shares were by now a kind of global reserve currency As Burke wrote The Constitution of the Company began in commerce and ended in Empire or rather, as one of its directors admitted, an empire within an empire. The Anarchy was a great examination of the rise of the East India Company EIC in India, how it transformed from a simple trading company to a Empire within an Empire and came to rule a sizeable portion of the Earth s population It also highlighted plenty of troubling parallels between the EIC to modern corporate behavior I also appreciated all the non English sources the author used to paint a rather objective picture of goings on We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises asinister reality It was not the British government that began seizing great chunks of India in the mid eighteenth century, but a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by a violent, utterly ruthless and intermittently mentally unstable corporate predator Clive India s transition to colonialism took place under a for profit corporation, which existed entirely for the purpose of enriching its investors. The truly amazing part of this story is just how accidental the ascendency of the EIC in India was I was originally a simple trading companyinterested in profits than anything else Since the later seventeenth century, as Philip Stern shows, they certainly welcomed the application of Indian revenues to boosting their commercial capital and, of course, they later enthusiastically welcomed the Bengal revenues secured by Clive But the directors consistently abhorred ambitious plans of conquest, which they feared would get out of control and overwhelm them with debt For this reason the great schemes of conquest of the EIC in India very rarely originated in Leadenhall Street Instead, what conquering, looting and plundering took place was almost always initiated by senior Company individuals on the spot, who were effectively outside metropolitan control, and influenced by a variety of motives ranging from greed, naked acquisitiveness and the urge to get rich quick, to a desire for national reputation and a wish to outflank the French and frustrate their Indian ambitions This was true throughout the period, as much for Clive and Hastings as for Cornwallis and Wellesley. In fact it was the lack of quick communication between the profit oriented board and their glory seeking agents on the scene that led to the expansion of the EIC s footprint in India There was no grand conspiracy carried out over multiple generations to bring one of the most prosperous regions in the world under the thumb of Britain, but the opportunistic and glory seeking behavior of EIC agents and adventurers.Or course the profit motive of the home office certainly lent itself to plenty of human tragedies But in many of the worst affected areas, Company efforts to alleviate the famine were contemptible In Rangpur, the senior EIC officer, John Grose, could only bring himself daily to distribute Rs5 of rice to the poor, even though half the labouring and working people had died by June 1770 and the entire area was being reduced to graveyard silence.18 Moreover, the Company administration as a whole did not engage in any famine relief works Nor did it make seed or credit available to the vulnerable, or assist cultivators with materials to begin planting their next harvest, even though the government had ample cash reserves to do so Instead, anxious to maintain their revenues at a time of low production and high military expenditure, the Company, in one of the greatest failures of corporate responsibility in history, rigorously enforced tax collection and in some cases even increased revenue assessments by 10 per cent Platoons of sepoys were marched out into the countryside to enforce payment, where they erected gibbets in prominent places to hang those who resisted the tax collection.19 Even starving families were expected to pay up there were no remissions authorised on humanitarian grounds As a result of such heartless methods of revenue collection, the famine initially made no impression on Company ledgers, as tax collections were, in the words of Warren Hastings, violently kept up to their former standards In February 1771, the Council was able to tell the directors in London that notwithstanding the great severity of the late famine, and the great reduction of people thereby, some increase in revenue has been made The only rice they stockpiled was for the use of the sepoys of their own army there was no question of cuts to the military budget, even as a fifth of Bengal was starving to death As Bengal lay racked by famine, with the greatest part of the land now entirely uncultivated owing to the scarcity of the inhabitants , in London, Company shareholders, relieved to see tax revenues maintained at normal levels, and aware that the share price was now higher than it had ever beenthan double its pre Diwani rate celebrated by voting themselves an unprecedented 12.5 per cent dividend. So while it may have been local fortune seekers that put the EIC in such a powerful position, the inhumanity that they carried out to pillage the land was well appreciated by the home office.And that was the modus operandi for the early portion of EIC s governance strip as much value form the land as possible and send it home in profits, local culture, societies, and sustainability be damned In the space of six years, half the great cities of an opulent kingdom were rendered desolate the most fertile fields in the world laid waste and five millions of harmless and industrious people were either expelled or destroyed Want of foresight becamefatal than innate barbarism and the company s servants found themselves wading through blood and ruin, when their object was only spoil A barbarous enemy may slay a prostrate foe, but a civilised conqueror can ruin nations without the sword Monopolies and an exclusive trade joined issue with additional taxations The unfortunate were deprived of the means, whilst the demands upon them were, with peculiar absurdity, increased We may date the commencement of the decline from the day on which Bengal fell under the dominion of foreigners who wereanxious to improve the present moment of their own emolument than to secure a permanent advantage to the nation. But the EIC not only enriched shareholders, but the British government, linking the national fortunes to the company fortunes From these rooms was run a business that was, by the 1750s, of unprecedented scale and which generated nearly 1 million out of Britain s total 8 million import trade Sales of tea alone cleared half a million sterling, which represented the import of some 3 million pounds of tea leaves At the same time it was widely recognised that it was Indian wealth that was now helping propel Britain s economy and that the first and most immediate consequence of the failure of the EIC would be national bankruptcy , or what amounted to the same thing, a stop to the payment of interest on the national debt.56 The economic and political theorist Thomas Pownall wrote how people now at last begin to view those Indian affairs, not simply as financial appendages connected to the Empire but from the participation of their revenues being wrought into the very frame of our finances people tremble with horror even at the imagination of the downfall of this Indian part of our system knowing that it must necessarily involve with its fall, the ruin of the whole edifice of the British Empire The Company enjoyed chartered privileges, guaranteed by the Crown, and its shareholders were tenacious in their defence of them Moreover, too many MPs owned EIC stock, and the EIC s taxes contributed too much to the economy customs duties alone generated 886,922 annually for it to be possible for any government to even consider letting the Company sink Ultimately, it was saved by its size the Company now came close to generating nearly half of Britain s trade and was, genuinely, too big to fail. Yes, well before the 20008 crash too big to fail was driving government policy at an Imperial level.Oh yeah, and there was also a TON of racism as one would expect in any sort of quasi Imperial The reforms Cornwallis initiated on his return to Calcutta further consolidated this position In America, Britain had lost its colonies not to Native Americans, but to the descendants of European settlers Cornwallis was determined to make sure that a settled colonial class never emerged in India to undermine British rule as it had done, to his own humiliation, in America By this period one in three British men in India were cohabiting with Indian women, and there were believed to bethan 11,000 Anglo Indians in the three Presidency towns Now Cornwallis brought in a whole raft of unembarrassedly racist legislation aimed at excluding the children of British men who had Indian wives, or bibis, from employment by the Company. Onprosaic matters I found the writing in this book very accessible and at times rather playful In the next round of internecine bloodshed that followed, the Maratha princes bore less resemblance to a confederacy than to a bag of ferretseven as it touched on serious matters I could have done without some of the lengthier block quotes that were included ironic, I know, given my abuse of them in this review but they were easy enough to skim And while I would have liked to have readabout their fall and absorption into the formal British Imperial system this book concerned itself with how they became ascendent in India and did not strive to be a general history of the organization But this was still an excellent book given the subject matter and I encourage you to check out the passages I found particularly compelling Many of the actions and scandals the EIC took part in still echo today and we would do well to heed the lessons of their notorious history As the international subprime bubble and bank collapses of 2007 9 have so recently demonstrated, just as corporations can enrich, mould and positively shape the destiny of nations, so they can also drag down their economies In all, US and European banks lostthan 1 trillion on toxic assets from January 2007 to September 2009 What Burke feared the East India Company would do to England in 1772 potentially drag the government down into an unfathomable abyss actually happened to Iceland in 2008 11, when the systemic collapse of all three of the country s major privately owned commercial banks brought the country to the brink of complete bankruptcy In the twenty first century, a powerful corporation can still overwhelm or subvert a state every bit as effectively as the East India Company did in Bengal in the eighteenth.

  8. Marks54 says:

    This is a history of the conquest of much of India by the British East India Company It focuses on the period between the Battle of Plassey in 1757, which established control over Bengal, until the Battle of Delhi in 1803, which gave the company effective control of much of India directly and muchthrough alliances and protection agreements of the various remaining kingdoms and principalities It was this period that laid the basis for the British Raj in India, which lasted until independe This is a history of the conquest of much of India by the British East India Company It focuses on the period between the Battle of Plassey in 1757, which established control over Bengal, until the Battle of Delhi in 1803, which gave the company effective control of much of India directly and muchthrough alliances and protection agreements of the various remaining kingdoms and principalities It was this period that laid the basis for the British Raj in India, which lasted until independence in 1947 The Raj was the centerpiece of the British Empire throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.Along with its importance to the British Empire, the story told in this book is also of continuing importance for another reason The conquest of India was undertaken and subsequently managed for a time by a private and very much for profit chartered corporation rather than by the British government While the East India Company was not the first joint stock company, it is almost certainly the most famous infamous one It is not unreasonable to see how corporations were used as vehicles to share risk and delegate some of the tasks of colonial expansion to private entities This was the case for the colonization of America What is astonishing in the case of India is how the East India company was given governmental rights, raised its own formidable armies, and subjugated over a hundred million people all in the explicit pursuit of company profit Dalrymple suggests at one point in his fine book that if someone had suggested in advance the role for the company that it eventually assumed in India, they would likely have been laughed at Hire a multinational firm to conquer and administer your most important colony What could happen It gets one thinking what would Google look like with its own tank battalions The history of this period has not gone unnoticed There is an entire literature on the excesses of the Company and its leaders, especially Robert Clive Dalrymple is effective at noting this It was also clear that some in Britain and its government got very wealthy from the Company, despite its excesses Crony capitalism has a long history Few doubt that Clive and his associates were littlethan pirates and gangsters who could have cared less about the people of Bengal Famine in Bengal What famine Dalrymple s book argues that the British conquest of India took place within the context of a period of extended and bloody conflict among the remaining Mughal rulers and their pretenders and the Marathas, Afghans, and other contenders for power Between the military expansion to dominance of the British and the near civil war conditions among Indian principalities, it is no wonder that this period was referred to as The Anarchy , giving Dalrymple his title.The book is generally well written and documented, although there is a lot of activity going on in the narrative and readers may find themselves cross checking names and places just to keep track The focus of the book is on people, small groups, units, and battles More macroscopic perspectives are taken from time to time, but this is a book about people and events The author has his own agendas, as do all authors, but he keeps them held back until the end of the book, when he draws conclusions and renders updates It is difficult to consider the history of the Company in a totally balanced perspective, since it was a focus of public controversy almost from its inception.The book does get one thinking about corporate excess, and what can be done about it It will also help readers to pause a little before too easily granting anybody s claims about how we needcorporate executives and financiers to run for office, and that society will benefit from their expertise Dalrymple makes clear the continuing relevance of the East India Company for contemporary national and international politics He is preaching to the choir with me, but his story about the Company is a good one that is effectively told, especially for a long book

  9. Amitava Das says:

    This is another scholarly work of India s colonial history , written with as much panache , passion and verve as I have come to expect from the finest living historian of colonial India , focusing on the anarchic period in Hindusthan triggering after the death of the last Mughal super power Aurangzeb in 1707 an emperor who collected ten timesrevenue than his contemporary King of France Louis XIV and contributed to a quarter of global GDP during his reign continuing till 1804 when the Ea This is another scholarly work of India s colonial history , written with as much panache , passion and verve as I have come to expect from the finest living historian of colonial India , focusing on the anarchic period in Hindusthan triggering after the death of the last Mughal super power Aurangzeb in 1707 an emperor who collected ten timesrevenue than his contemporary King of France Louis XIV and contributed to a quarter of global GDP during his reign continuing till 1804 when the East India Company a mere merchant company of joint stock holders , established themselves , through every trick in the book of politics , as the unchallenged sovereign master over a vast Indian subcontinent the jewel in the British crown as it eventually came to be known , an event that really has no parallel in all of history In this context , The Anarchy is the prequel for Dalrymple s earlier masterpiece The Last Mughal which chronicles the life of Bahadur Shah Zafar and Delhi caught up in the great revolt of 1857.This brilliant work , Dalrymple s latest , details not only these tricks, intrigues , subterfuge , chicanery and devious diplomatic policies unleashed to loot rape and plunder one of the world s wealthiest nations , but also the supreme political cunning , agility and foresight by which EIC the world s first corporate superpower became de facto ruler and overlords of all the various factional powers which included the last independent Nawab of Bengal Siraj, the dethroned Mughal prince and eventual puppet king Shah Alam, the valiant Nawab of Avadh Shuja ud Daulah, the rebel Mir Qashim, the immensely influential banking clan of Jagat Seths even wealthier than their European counterpart the Rothschilds , the vast and powerful Maratha Confederacy , the destructive Rohillas, the glorious Mysore Sultanate of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan , the Nizams of Hyderabad and of course the French their bitter transcontinental rivals in the mere period of fifty years This is a book steeped in authentic history footnotes and bibliography at the end alone cover 100 pages , based on Persian ,Urdu and Arabic texts of contemporaneous period and not, as is the usual case of revisionist works of history , on ideologically biased post colonial texts that often skews and subverts narratives in the service of the former Dalrymple s gaze is neutral , wise , penetrating ,digging into the heart of every conflict and political manoeuvre with the skill and magic of an epic novelist , while maintaining historical integrity so much so that neither the colonials nor the colonised emerges either in simple black and white It s the immensely complex greys of characters , situations and circumstances that comes alive , in all their multiplicity of shades in Dalrymple s vivid prose More than anything it shows in unerring detail the machinations of commerce and the role of ruthless financial dealings and subterfuge undertaken by EIC in conjunction with the displaced Nawabs and the banking clans which ultimately sealed the fate of this country for the next 150 years till its independence, something that many other scholarly works on colonial history have failed to adequately portray.A stunning achievement

  10. Sebastien says:

    Very good overview on the British East India company and its exploitation of India and also exploitation of the British political scene The amount of power this multinational amassed is almost incomprehensible, but similarly problematic to some of the dynamics seen today private corporations that become so powerful they end up subverting domestic politics via lobbying and basically buying politicians And of course int l the human costs in the lands they exploited as they chased power was Very good overview on the British East India company and its exploitation of India and also exploitation of the British political scene The amount of power this multinational amassed is almost incomprehensible, but similarly problematic to some of the dynamics seen today private corporations that become so powerful they end up subverting domestic politics via lobbying and basically buying politicians And of course int l the human costs in the lands they exploited as they chased power was massive but this was a negligible nuisance and price of doing business for insatiable European corporate imperialism which funded its own massive private armies but also received endless gov support The company was also the recipient of a massive gov bailout, thanks to its political connections conflicts of interest Too big to fail of course.Regarding massive private power subverting domestic government policy, sometimes this dynamic is checked by a company dying out naturally living its life cycle, imploding under its own sprawl, or losing competitiveness markets Or it is to actively confronted like in the US 1890 1945 trustbusting era where gov and courts take an active approach in checking private power I guess those issues are interesting to me because we face the same questions in our current era regarding the tech oligopolies The EIC itself eventually lost its grip via rebellion and was nationalized, but it had a hell of a long run I have 0 knowledge of Indian history, so it was nice to get some insights into the history of this region And interesting to see the lessons that the British learned from their US colonies, ie, don t allow for an educated aristocratic class to establish power as it can potentially end up in a challenging role to your legitimacy power So the Brits went out of their way to disempower any potential challenges to their power in India, the recent example of the US rebellion starkly lingering in the Brit consciousness One thing I didn t like felt the book got into too many tiny details that sometimes asphyxiated the general story

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