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