The Story of Indian Business Series

Arthashastra

Arthashastra: The Science of Wealth

Author: Thomas R. Trautmann, Gurcharan Das

This book is a definitive introduction to the classic text, the Arthashastra, the world’s first manual on political economy. The 2000-year-old treatise is ascribed to Kautilya, prime minister to King Chandragupta Maurya, and is as important to Indian thought as Machiavelli’s The Prince is to Europe. Arthashastra, or ‘the science of wealth’, is a study of economic enterprise, and advises the king-entrepreneur on how to create prosperity.

Thomas Trautmann’s exploration of this seminal work illuminates its underlying economic philosophy and provides invaluable lessons for the modern age.

Published by: Penguin Books India; Published: 31 Jan 2012
ISBN13:9780670085279;
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Merchants of Tamilakam

The World of the Tamil Merchant

Author: Kanaklatha Mukund, Gurcharan Das

The tale of the Tamil merchant is a fascinating story of the adventure of commerce in the ancient and early medieval periods in India. The early medieval period saw an economic structure dominated by the rise of powerful Tamil empires under the Pallava and Chola dynasties. This book marks the many significant ways in which the Tamil merchants impacted the political and economic development of south India.

Published by: Penguin Books India; Published: 31 Jan 2012
ISBN13:9780143424734;
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The East India Company

The East India Company: The World's Most Powerful Corporation

Author: Tirthankar Roy, Gurcharan Das

This groundbreaking study examines how the East India Company founded an empire in India at the same time it started losing ground in business. For over 200 years, the Company’s vast business network had spanned Persia, India, China, Indonesia and North America. But in the late 1700s, its career took a dramatic turn, and it ended up being an empire builder.

In this fascinating account, Tirthankar Roy reveals how the Company’s trade with India changed it—and how the Company changed Indian business. Fitting together many pieces of a vast jigsaw puzzle, the book explores how politics meshed so closely with the conduct of business then, and what that tells us about doing business now.

Published by: Penguin Books India; Published: 31 Jan 2012
ISBN13:9780670085071;
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Three Merchants of Bombay

Three Merchants of Bombay

Author: Lakshmi Subramanian, Gurcharan Das

Three Merchants of Bombay is the story of three intrepid merchants who traded out of Bombay in the nineteenth century—Tarwady Arjunjee, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy and Premchand Roychand—founding pioneering business empires based on trade in cotton and opium. Set against the backdrop of global and local economies undergoing rapid and unforeseen change, these stories stand as a microcosm for the history of indigenous capitalism in western India.

In this succinct account, Lakshmi Subramanian traces this history and locates it in the greater narrative of the economic development of India, South Asia and the world.

Published by: Penguin Books India
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The Mouse Mechant

The Mouse Merchant

Author: Arshia Sattar, Gurcharan Das

Even in ancient India, money is always a good thing and everyone wants it. The stories in The Mouse Merchant—selected from the Sanskrit universe, from the period of the late Rig Veda to the twelfth century—tell us how money was dealt with in everyday life in ancient and medieval Indian society. At the heart of these tales is the merchant. Sometimes gullible, sometimes greedy, ingenious at some moments, dim-witted at others, our merchant heroes show how innovation in business is sometimes more important than capital. The Mouse Merchant puts these stories into the context of Indian business history, giving not only rare insights into the romance of the ancient seafaring life but also great wisdom about money.

Published by: Penguin Books India; Published: 20 May 2015
ISBN13: 9780143424727;
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The Marwaris

The Marwaris

Author: Thomas A Timberg, Gurcharan Das

In the nineteenth century, a tiny community from the deserts of Rajasthan spread out to every corner of India. The Marwaris controlled much of the country’s inland trade by the time of the First World War. They then turned their hand to industry and, by the 1970s, owned most of India’s private industrial assets. Today, Marwari businessmen account for a quarter of the Indian names on the Forbes billionaires list.

What makes the Marwaris so successful? Is it their indomitable enterprise, or their incredible appetite for risk? In this new book, Thomas Timberg shows how the Marwaris rely on a centuries-old system for conserving and growing capital which has stood them in good stead, alongside a strong sense of business ethics which has earned them respect. Family businesses in general and the Marwaris in particular might have a vital role to play in shaping India’s economic future.

Published by: Penguin Books India; Published: 20 May 2015
ISBN13: 9780143424055;
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CARAVANS: Punjabi Khatri Merchants on the Silk Road

Caravans: Punjabi Khatri Merchants on the Silk Road

Author: Scott C Levi, Gurcharan Das

Caravans tells the fascinating story of countless Punjabi Khatri merchants who built great business empires through their ingenuity and spirit of adventure. Operating during the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, these merchants risked everything and travelled across Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran and Russia. They used sophisticated techniques to convert a modest quantity of merchandise into vast portfolios for trade and moneylending ventures.

Caravans challenges the belief that the rising tide of European trade in the Indian Ocean usurped the overland ‘Silk Road’ trade, and demonstrates how thousands of Punjabis created a booming market in Central Asia at precisely this historical moment.

Published by: Penguin Books India
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Globalization Before Its Time

Globalization Before Its Time

Author: Chhaya Goswami, Gurcharan Das

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, during the dying days of the Mughal empire, merchants from Kachchh established a fl ourishing overseas trade. Building on a rich legacy of free trade in premodern times, between the many ports of Gujarat and the Middle East, the Kachchhis dealt in pearls, dates, spices and ivory with the faraway lands of Muscat and Zanzibar.

The Kachchhi merchants behaved much like today’s venture capitalists. They knew how to grow capital, seek new markets, and create them where they didn’t exist. They also had a phenomenal risk appetite. What they were able to practise was nothing less than the traits of globalization before its time. This new book in The Story of Indian Business series tells their fascinating story.

Published by: Penguin Books India
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