A Conscious and Determined Resurrection

At its height, the East India Company dominated half of recorded world trade, owned its own army, and was the single most important reason for the expansion of the British Empire. The company's flag (which I have put at the top of this post) is not coincidentally related to the American and Malaysian ones, as a consequence.

The Company had a very proud career (and I am fully aware that pride is a sin) before its final over-reaching. It effectively ran India, below the princely states, but its corporate policies went so awry that it caused, more or less, the abortive War of Independence of 1857, known to the British as the Mutiny. The Company was effectively nationalised in 1858, but re-emerged as a tea-trading enterprise, which was formally dissolved in 1874. One hundred years later, it was resurrected for a second time, by a group of post-Imperial 'Britain backers', and again, it fell prey to the trade winds--this time in the form of seventies stagnation and global sclerosis.

A former student of mine sent me a link yesterday to a story about the Company's new return. In a determined (and fully informed) historical act, Sanjiv Mehta has purchased the name and identity of the EIC and intends to run it as an Indian-owned, London-based luxury business selling in Britain. I'd imagine that the EIC was a fairly safe bet. Good luck to Mr Mehta!

It is interesting to me how, if one waits long enough, things go full circle, or fully tidal, depending on your metaphor.

h/t Miriam Grinberg on facebook


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