The Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K) is set to create history by throwing open the first museum of Indian business history soon. Work on the museum is in the final stage and President Pratibha Patil is likely to inaugurate it in two months.
The Indian Business History Museum will collect, consolidate, and conserve the rich business history of the country. “We don't have a business history museum, though we boast rich traditions and legacy in trade and commerce with other parts of the world,” M.G. Sreekumar, convener of the museum, says.
Dr. Sreekumar says the main objective of setting up the museum is to inspire and ignite business entrepreneurship among the youth. “Entrepreneurship cannot be taught. It is a combination of art and skills. We can inspire the youth with the museum,” he says. IIM-K authorities say the museum will showcase almost all aspects of Indian business history — from its rich traditions to the present-day corporate strength.
Dr. Sreekumar says Kozhikode is an ideal place for the museum, as Malabar coast had played the most significant role in the country's trade with foreign lands much before the advent of the Europeans. Kozhikode as a free trade port was better known across the world than any other Indian place in early times.
An exclusive pavilion for Malabar will welcome the visitor to the museum. “The trade story of Malabar is the best way to introduce you to the business history of India,” Dr. Sreekumar says. The Malabar Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the Malabar Pavilion. Then the visitor will be taken to the ancient trade of Indus Valley Civilisation and other cultures. From the Indus period, the exhibits will move to the medieval age and then to the modern age. There will be special emphasis on spices and silk trade.
The exhibits on post-Independent India will take the visitor to business sectors and India Incorporated, where 20-odd flagship companies of the country will be featured. Among them will be Tata, Birla, Godrej, Bajaj, and Infosys. FACT will represent Kerala in the Big 20.
The Reserve Bank of India, the State of Bank of India, and ICICI Bank will have separate pavilions representing different themes. “We intend to provoke the thinking process of youngsters at the school level,” Dr. Sreekumar says.