East India Company Sells Jams And Biscuits!

August 17, 2010
You know what, the ritualistic approach towards celebrating DAYS does not please me one bit, so I was not excited about the Independence Day and that lack of passion was visible in my post about this day also.
The East India Company's High Street headquarters, East India House tion
But there is one thing, just one thing which made me jump that day.... a news article, titled "The East India Company is back with an Indian Owner".  Wow! what better day to announce this.  A company which came to India for business, and ultimately ended up ruling the country for about two hundred years, then thrown back, comes back today, bought by an Indian, selling Jams and coffee and biscuits !! Now this seems to be some kind of Independence to me! What say you?!

OK, to elaborate let me just tell what the Wikipedia saying about East India Company and its "Raj" in the country :-

"The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre, tea, and opium. However, it also came to rule large swathes of India, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions, to the exclusion, gradually, of its commercial pursuits. Company rule in India, which effectively began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey, lasted until 1858, when, following the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and under the Government of India Act 1858, the British Crown assumed direct administration of India in the new British Raj. The Company itself was finally dissolved on 1 January 1874, as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act."

As we all know that this trading company was granted special rights and privileges, including trade monopolies and exemptions, causing resentment amongst other players at that time, but managed to remain like a powerful force for over 200 years in India.

Does it not feel great today that an Indian, Mumbai born Sanjiv Mehta, 48, is the new owner of the Company which almost ruled our country once upon a time?  This man just did not takeover the company like that, when he saw the potential in it in 2004, as the news reports says, he after buying the shares of the company, spent six years understanding the heritage of the company, visiting Museum Curators who looked after the artifacts of the company!  Such dedication! 

I see two things here, first that an Indian bought it, second, his vision is smart as well as humane. "Smart" because its a brand name, you don't need any advertisement for, and 'Humane" because his vision is that whatever he wants to do with the company is for a greater good.  All the best Mr Mehta for that!

But, as an Indian I would have loved to see our homegrown products, Khadi Gramodyog products etc being sold under this brand name. I don't know what business sense it makes...... but buying the stuff of East India Company surely will bring back some bitter memories in the mind of each Indian who has grown up reading this name in his/her History books and hated it and wondered about the greed of those kings, Rajas, zamindars who sold their motherland to the Britishers for very small, petty and very personal gains.

Anyways, all the very best Mr Sanjiv Mehta, I am glad you have a vision beyond selling the products, but what "greater good" one can do in business..... we got to wait and watch.


image courtesy: victorious.pbworks.com


RS said...

"as an Indian I would have loved to see our homegrown products, Khadi Gramodyog products etc being sold under this brand name. I don't know what business sense it makes"

Great idea Restless - why not mail Mr Mehta and suggest it to him - you might even get a reply!



Charan said...


That was some information I did not notice in the newspapers or the BREAKING NEWS selling news channels.

Nice snippet :)


Nithin R S said...

I would rather like to see this east india company buying businesses in england and west. As you mentioned, the brand name is priceless. Well, may be the owner should rather focus on selling indian products abroad with this brand than doing the same in india. For whatever reason, there is a sense of nostalgic agony against the name East India company!

Vee... said...

I didn't come across this either. Now, this is the reason I tell you that you've me as your reader, as you come up with wonderful stuff.

UB said...

Hi Restless!
Yes I saw the news too...it was a treat to the ears :) I hope he does some good job.

Sanjeeta kk said...

Thanks for dropping by my site. And congrats for the good Indirank! Best wishes.

Purba said...

Hey Khadi is doing good. They have diversified and you will find a lot of their products selling in posh supermarkets.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

RS- this was funny!

@ Charan- welcome! no even I didnot see channels breaking this news. It was in newspaper.

@ Vee- am so glad Vee, thanks a ton for those sweet words!

@ UB - Hey dear! I know feels good, especially on Independence day!

@ Sanjeeta - well, new indirank is on the way! and ur cake was delicious!

@ Purba - Hmm, true, but when East India company sells it to the world, it would be different feeling na!

thanks for your encouraging comments!!


A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ vee- finding it difficult to see ur blog, it slows down suddently. did u see my comment on "about me"in your blog?

Nalini Hebbar said...

Catchy title and a lot of stuff in the post...thanks for the info..:)

Bhargavi Sameeran said...

This news is making waves in England ... interesting title ...

Shri Ram Ayyangar said...

Very informative post.By the way , what would be the brand name product to be sold by this company, any clue?

arvind said...

ur introduction in ur profile is nice..

me may read and comment when me find some time..
meanwhile - how to be a follower of ur blog?

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ Nalini - am glad, it served the purpose. thanks :)

@ Bhargavi- BEE, really?! didn't know, it really tickled me when i read!

@ Shri Ram Ayyangar - thanks! hmm, hope its in Hindi!

@ arvind - thanks! pl see the follow button on the right hand side on the blog.


NeoTheHack said...

There are more such "East India Companies". Reliance, Jindal, Essar, Vedanta, Reddy Brothers etc go by the same policies that East India Company. They rule the governments that are in power, acquire land by throwing away tribals, plundering the forests for mineral wealth and bulging their own profits. And they do all this in the name of development.

Hail East Indian Companies

salaamreaders said...

if the company was dissolved in 1874 how did he buy it?

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