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East India Company (English)

Hardcover
Language: English
Length: 237 Pages
Publisher: Penguin India
Rs. 399
Inclusive of taxes
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East India Company (English) (Hardcover) Price: Rs.399

The book narrates how the East India Company, which came to India as a mere trading company in the 17th century, grew into a very powerful organization, and how it influenced the course of Indian History.

Summary Of The Book

The East India Company was formed by a Charter granted to it by the British Crown back in 1600 A.D. The Portuguese Navy in the Western coast of India, near Surat, was defeated by the Company in 1612 A.D. Thus, they were able to get the trading rights in India from Jahangir, the Mogul Emperor of that period. It paved the way for European colonialism in this area.

The East India Company established itself firmly in India and for the next two centuries grew into a formidable entity creating new markets, building several port cities, and opening new trade channels. Slowly, the company transformed from being a trading company and turned into an administrator of India with the British Crown as a partner.

Tirthankar Roy and Gurucharan Das go deeply into the operations of the East India Company through the book, The East India Company: The World's Most Powerful Corporation, gathering and presenting several facts that are known as well as unknown. The authors take readers through the period of glory of the Company, and how it expanded its business across the seas to places like China, Indonesia, North America, and Persia. Though the Company was ruined as a trading organisation by the 18th century, its influence had spread across India by then. The authors have analyzed how India's present business scenario has been influenced by the East India Company and conversely, India's impact on the Company and how India's immense wealth found its way to England.

About The Authors

Tirthankar Roy is a famous name in the field of Economic History. He is regarded as an expert in South Asian Economic History.

Some of his popular books include Economic History of India, (1857-1947), Company of Kinsmen: Enterprise and Community in South Asian History 1700-1940, and Traditional Industry in the Economy of Colonial India.

He is a Reader at the London School of Economics in Political Science. Several of his papers have been published in journals and newspapers.

Gurucharan Das is a well known commentator, author, and intellectual.

Some of his popular books are India Unbound, The Elephant Paradigm India Wrestles With Change, and The Difficulty of Being Good: On The Subtle Art Of Dharma.

He writes for many Indian newspapers. He writes in various languages such as English, Telugu, Marathi, and Hindi. Das worked as the CEO of Proctor & Gamble India.

Specifications of East India Company (English) (Hardcover)

Contributors
Author Tirthankar Roy
Book Details
Publisher Penguin India
Publication Year 2012 January
ISBN-13 9780670085071
ISBN-10 0670085073
Language English
Binding Hardcover
Number of Pages 237 Pages
Dimensions
Weight 410 g
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Book Reviews of East India Company (English)

TOP REVIEWS View All Top Reviews (3)

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★★★★★
★★★★★
Shibaji Mukherjee
11 Jul 2012
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A neutral rational story of the Company

The author and the publisher have made every effort to make this book a book for everyone. The writing is very lucid, font is big so that you can read it in your bed, the look and feel is very nice and the topic is of lot of interest particularly for the indian audience and the book looks nice as a gift item also.
The book demystifies the story of East India company and looks at it from a different angle than the prevalent one of the oppressor.The book looks at the company from a business entity perspective and traces the history nicely.The book brings out the fact that the company was mor...
()

The author and the publisher have made every effort to make this book a book for everyone. The writing is very lucid, font is big so that you can read it in your bed, the look and feel is very nice and the topic is of lot of interest particularly for the indian audience and the book looks nice as a gift item also.
The book demystifies the story of East India company and looks at it from a different angle than the prevalent one of the oppressor.The book looks at the company from a business entity perspective and traces the history nicely.The book brings out the fact that the company was mor...
The author and the publisher have made every effort to make this book a book for everyone. The writing is very lucid, font is big so that you can read it in your bed, the look and feel is very nice and the topic is of lot of interest particularly for the indian audience and the book looks nice as a gift item also.
The book demystifies the story of East India company and looks at it from a different angle than the prevalent one of the oppressor.The book looks at the company from a business entity perspective and traces the history nicely.The book brings out the fact that the company was more dragged into administration than went into it by choice. The dominant priority was to carry on the business, make profit for itself and also private profit and business for its employees. Maintaining contracts, protecting lives, fighting off competitors and protecting investment in absence of state protection mostly got it more and more into state governance which was always debated and questioned in the head office.
The author also discusses about the impact of company on Indian economy and society and tries to counter some prevalent arguments of large scale drainage which according to the author is msotly a misplaced notion.
This doesn???t mean that this is a book of praise for the company, but its a neutral, scientific and fact based history of the company as it was and as it operated.
On the whole the book tells a nice story, gives a completely new perspective and is a gateway to further enquiry. The author is a renowned economic historian and the scholarship is evident very much in the book.
The book however has some serious shortcomings, to start with its positioning is misplaced. Even if the author or editor wishes, this book will not be read along with casual fiction in airports or cars, the readership will be either academic or serious readers with an intention to read further, know more on specific topics and believe inferences on the basis of facts. The book is weak in all the above aspect. To start with the book does not have an index, neither any footnote anywhere and some terms, concepts and inferences required footnotes and references very badly.
The book has a general bibliography for what purpose its difficult to understand. Except for an academician in this specific field none else will have an idea of which one to read further for what and why. A non academic reader will also not have sufficient time and scholarship to read up about all the books in the bibliography (let alone get them from where nobody knows) to decide which one to go into in details.
The last chapter particularly makes pretty sweeping conclusion without any facts/figures/explanation. At least that chapter needs a complete rewrite seriously.
The book disappoints in many ways but do make for a very lucid reading and tells a different history of the company. The question remains for whom this book is written.

3 of 3 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
Pankaj%20 Sharma
12 Mar 2012
first to review
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certified buyer
Lack of depth

The book is not upto the mark.There is lack of depth and Author could not touche the depth of such an insightful topic.Author seems to be in hurry.Everything has been covered in hurry.Reading whole book you feel that you just touched the surface.It could have been explored a bit.
FlipKart delivery is great.Thanks.

3 of 5 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
S.Sundaram
25 Dec 2012
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certified buyer
The East India Company - the World's Most Powerful Corporation by Tirthankar Ray

A fine primer on the commerce of The East India Company, spotlighting how from its genesis as a Trading outfit the Company evolved as one of the key figures in Indian history, that changed the profile of Indian Business forever. Mr. Roy has steadfastly held on to brevity in his narration, but doesn't miss out on any significant facet in explaining how the Company twisted the contours of Indian commerce over a 200 year sweep - from early 17th century till around the end of 19th century. This account is a handy reference and helps to quickly grasp the motivation of the British who began as me... ()

A fine primer on the commerce of The East India Company, spotlighting how from its genesis as a Trading outfit the Company evolved as one of the key figures in Indian history, that changed the profile of Indian Business forever. Mr. Roy has steadfastly held on to brevity in his narration, but doesn't miss out on any significant facet in explaining how the Company twisted the contours of Indian commerce over a 200 year sweep - from early 17th century till around the end of 19th century. This account is a handy reference and helps to quickly grasp the motivation of the British who began as me...
A fine primer on the commerce of The East India Company, spotlighting how from its genesis as a Trading outfit the Company evolved as one of the key figures in Indian history, that changed the profile of Indian Business forever. Mr. Roy has steadfastly held on to brevity in his narration, but doesn't miss out on any significant facet in explaining how the Company twisted the contours of Indian commerce over a 200 year sweep - from early 17th century till around the end of 19th century. This account is a handy reference and helps to quickly grasp the motivation of the British who began as merchants and became the rulers; highlighting their machinations, acumen, animal spirit and sagacity. Most of all it throws the perspective on how they exploited the lack of sound governance and national unity that had become the epitome of the Mughal era after Akbar's hegemony. This work may kindle further research on the topic of whether the Company as a business entity, made Indian Business a subservient operation as made out in Indian school History text books or had indeed only exploited the absence of scale and lack of enterprise in building markets on its own.

The key takeaway from this work is, when Business interests are dominated by national interest, Politics of that nation will definitely take control over the business participants - a parallel with the modern conflict in the Middle East. The American need to control Oil supplies in the 20th century draws a parallel with the 17th Century Western European quest for Spices, the unmistakable similarity- the desire to defend Business interests today is no different from what history was witness to 300 years ago. This work also helps in understanding that a Big Business necessarily starts small and when it gathers mass it attracts the true power lords be it a Regent, a Democrat or a Dictator - the mutual interest being the market for one and constituency for the other.

Also it is quite possible to be absorbed in the story on the contrast play of corruption and ethics; be it bribing to reduce costs or for having pushed Opium into China despite its ill effects, just to fund its War efforts. Certainly, one is left to wonder with the thought, when it boils down to Business interest, like in War & Sex everything is legal ! It also flies in the face & may justifiably make one smirk with cynicism on the proclamations of Cadbury code and its ilk, whereas just 200 years ago the forefathers of these modern day paragons of ethical business unjustly sacrificed all morals on the altar of profits and trade gains.

In the concluding chapter Mr Roy alludes with a tinge of admiration for the Company for having changed the contours of business and draws comparison with what didn't happen in Africa for instance. The book establishes that the business practice of East India Company had tuned the Indian machinery to work for the traders interest, but misses to highlight that not much emphasis was placed on quality and no innovation was called for- this may be the reason why the Indian manufacturing capabilities have forever lost focus to build for the long term and has caused the abysmal infrastructural growth across the country. In fact the three littoral Metros got developed to serve British trade and Delhi to consolidate British rule; and since independence only Bangalore has a gathered a distinct character - of being the worlds back-office. Little has been accomplished since then, though Pune and Ahmedabad have expanded and Chandigarh was built from scratch. The crippling blow of this British shaping of Indian business psyche is perhaps the root cause of inability of India to innovate and go for global markets unlike Japan & China?

The key point not credited to the Company in the book is the "competitive advantage" benefit that accrued to the native business community due to the familiarity with English; this alone has clearly added a generational advantage to the prospects of Indian Business in the global setting, but history in due course will play out if the advantage was used a force multiplier or squandered by Indian Business.

All said a good read and, manages to takeaway the hoary scholarship brandishing which such titles frequently gravitate to and fall into the category of "well regarded but least read", this book if bought will be read into-to !!

1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
    Book: East India Company (English) by Tirthankar Roy
    ISBN Number: 0670085073, 9780670085071, 978-0670085071

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