EAST INDIA COMPANY IN TODAY’S CONTEXT – PART 2

In last 400 years, every country has grown from being under-developed developing economy to developed economy with expansion and success of its manufacturing sector. The higher capability in manufacturing leads to higher productivity and this productivity tends to grow faster than agriculture and services.

Has India failed to learn from our own mistakes. Are we focused to make things work for individuals and families and not for India. Looking at our history, the curse of East India Company continues after 60 years of independence.

Let me walk through some history. In 1700s, East India Company came to India with textile products. To start, few European employees wanted to establish and own territory in India and established small posts in Bombay, Calcutta & Madras.

At that time, India was known for its rich expertise in manufacturing textiles. Foreigners bought & carried Indian textile products to their countries from India. The products were hand-made in India and the product business in India was based on local economy.

While India had better skilled artisans, Indian products were hand-made(not machine driven). With absence of trains/ motor transport, the products catered primarily to local economy. On other hand, East India Company produced more clothes leveraging the machine power and also had the know-how to develop rail-roads (or trains) to transport the goods to distant places. This advantage helped East India Company  to leverage its influence on trade and India became colony of England. One can see the importance of districution network(e-commerce and payment gateways) and transportation(e-commerce) 

People from England came to handle company operations in India. They became sick or became home sick and wanted to return in short duration. Some looted the wealth from India and carried back as personal money, causing jealousy and confusion  of higher-ups. There was more attrition among British staff in Inda, leading to decision to employ more Indian in jobs related to execution.

Scaling of the company brought even more challenges to be managed. The first was the need for officials to communicate in different Indian languages. In those days, it took 2 months was need to travel by ship from England to India.

Remembers that there were no computers those days. On absence of computers, one can see need to remember things and also need for the skill to memorize. In addiiton some of these people were required to be faithful followers, not slaves and neither masters. They need education Indians as executors and not thinkers/creators.

To have dependable Indians to follow their orders even in absence, they started schools to teach Indians English and maths and develop their skill to memorize better.

  • Indian people were trained in English to translate and communicate for Britishers.
  • Accounting system and tax recording systems was introduced in English to ensure that records can be maintained in leave of absence of British by Indians and can be audited by British on arrival.
  • Bank recording system was introduced to collect taxes and kept it safeguarded from these education Indians too.
  • To make sure that  these Indians working for them were loyal, they were paid slaary more than the earnings of artisans and craftsmen, as they were important for British offical to inflience and create better gains for the officials and the company.

Person with good English, maths and good memory qualified to become clerks, a new class. East India officials fear the risk of Indians in execution to revolt when they start they start thinking.  Hence policy of divide and rule seems to be introduced to ensure that Indians in execution are more concerned about caste and other factors leading to Indians not to think and revolt. Indians were encouraged and supported to to improve their own community to become enforcer of divide and conquer technique.