CNEP BOMBAY Courtesy: BNP Paribas
14 March 2022

French business icons of colonial Bombay

The Anglo-French commercial treaty of 1860 opened trade between France and Bombay, and brought two iconic French companies – a shipping line and the city’s first European bank. Bombay’s affluent residents were already familiar with French fashion, luxury goods, wines and liqueurs.

Suffren_meeting_with_Haider_Ali_26_july_1782_engraved_by_J_B_Morret_1789 Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
10 March 2022

300 years of India-France trade

Three hundred years ago, the Anglo-French rivalry in Europe spilled over to India, and threatened the dissolution of the powerful Bombay Presidency. Three centuries later, India and France are in a different place, with economic ties blossoming and the bilateral upgrading in 1998 into a strategic relationship. The speed with which this has scaled up reflects the deep familiarity between the two nations rooted in colonial history.

imperial bank bldg Courtesy: Bombay 100 Years Ago
13 January 2022

The Imperial Bank of India

The Imperial Bank of India completed a hundred years in 2021. This Bombay Presidency institution is the precursor of the State Bank of India, which was a retail bank but also performed central bank duties. In this podcast, Sifra Lentin discusses the legacy of what was once the Indian subcontinent's oldest, largest bank.

sifra cover Courtesy: Routledge India
5 January 2022

Mercantile Bombay: A Journey of Trade, Finance and Enterprise

Mumbai has a deep legacy as an international financial hub from the 19th to early 20th century. It was the central node of trading communities in a globalised colonial world, the remnants of which are seen today. The author describes the city's heyday and advances the prospect of Bombay's revival as a global city of enterprise. This excerpt traces the history of the Bombay Burmah Trading Co., which played a role in the onset of the final Anglo-Burmese War.

a history of india's currencies and banknotes Courtesy: Marg Publications (Mumbai)
20 May 2021

The Conjuror’s Trick: An Interpretive History of Paper Money in India

From the window of the earliest paper currencies issued by private banks in Calcutta, to the evolution of contemporary banknotes, The Conjuror’s Trick: An Interpretive History of Paper Money in India, deftly tackles political imperatives, monetary policy, global disruptions, schools of currency thought and even the science and art of printed paper money in India.

resized again pk 2 Courtesy: Wikimedia commons & gloriabyculla.wordpress
28 January 2021

Premchund Roychand, 1863’s Big Bull

On 21 January, the Bombay Stock Exchange index crossed the 50,000 mark – the first-ever in its 146-year history. A similar stock market boom occurred in 1863. It was led by the city’s legendary stock-bullion-cotton broker, Premchund Roychand. Unlike today’s Bad Boy Billionaires, Roychand settled all his dues after which he earned back his fortune. Well-known as the sole donor of Mumbai University’s Rajabai Clock Tower, he not only met all pending philanthropic commitments made before the 1865 crash but continued giving more.

IMG_20190411_090307__01__01_Norita SAN (1) Courtesy: Gateway House
11 April 2019

Japan’s Buddhist trail in Bombay

At the turn of the 20th century, British India was home to about 3,000 Japanese expatriates, and Bombay and its presidency had well-established trade ties with Imperial Japan – until the Second World War brought it all to an end. The city never regained its substantial Japanese resident population, but the few monuments that remain point to rich political and religious linkages

Image Credit: Dr. Jehangir Sorabjee
Raw cotton being weighed. Japanese firms began going to the cotton growing hinterland of Bombay by the early 20th century. These direct purchases fueled a massive export trade between Bombay and Japan. Courtesy: Dr. Jehangir Sorabjee
20 March 2019

Imperial Japan’s trade with Bombay

Prior to the Second World War, Bombay had established merchant networks with several Japanese port cities and they drove an enormous global trade in cotton and textiles between the Indian subcontinent and Imperial Japan. Business has become a renewed priority for both countries today, offering fresh opportunities for collaboration