Chennai

The story of how the East India Co. colonised India and looted its wealth

History aficionados got a peek into the fascinating tale of the rise of the East India Company and how it went about colonising India on a rainy Monday evening in the city.

Acclaimed historian William Dalrymple gave his audience glimpses into the riveting tale of the East India Company and how it amassed wealth by exploiting India’s riches during the launch of his book The Anarchy at the Taj Connemara.

‘Loot’ was one of the first Indian words to enter the English language during mid-18th century after the East India Company expanded its operations in India. In his presentation, Mr. Dalrymple elaborated on how the company rose from a joint stock company to a corporate power, trained an Indian army and enslaved the entire Indian sub-continent within a century.

Pointing to a painting from 1765 that showed the Mughal emperor Shah Alam who was defeated by the company troops, he said it was the moment when the company rose to be a ruthless, audacious corporate power that used violence to earn profits. Shah Alam was forced to replace his officials with English merchants who collected taxes.

From the initial conquest of Bengal, the company went on to seize the Mughal capital of Delhi in 1803.

It was the unregulated private company that seized India when its economy was at its peak during the 18th century and not the British government, he said.

Chennai was the sixth city where the book was launched and readers got to interact with the author on topics related to the East India Company and the Mughal empire. He later engaged in a conversation with Mukund Padmanabhan, former Editor, The Hindu.

The event was supported by Chambers Club-Taj and Bloomsbury.

The Hindu was the media partner for the event.

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Printable version | Jan 11, 2021 8:45:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/the-story-of-how-the-east-india-co-colonised-india-and-looted-its-wealth/article29762158.ece

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