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

The Presidency Chartered Bank of Bombay on 1 Rampart Row was founded in 1840 and was one of three presidency banks that were the precursors of the State Bank of India (1955) Courtesy: State Bank of India
3 May 2018

Indian banking’s chequered history

The history of modern Indian banking in the 19th century is full of examples of lopsided loan portfolios, favouring a few individuals and businesses, which is not very different from today’s world of financial fraud and manipulation of the system for personal gain. The past still holds many lessons

The historic Bombay Mint Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons
19 April 2018

Rationale for the return of the global rupee

Over 50 years ago, the Indian rupee was a currency of overseas trade besides being the local currency for the Gulf nations and many regions of the Indian Ocean. It fell into a retreat for many reasons. With the Indian economy slated to strengthen 2019 onwards, this is the right time to speed up the rupee’s full capital account convertibility

Obelisk Buenos Aires Argentina Courtesy:
8 August 2017

India, Argentina at the startup forefront

Mumbai and Buenos Aires are cities with a shared history of trading, business and entrepreneurship. The parallels are becoming more apparent now, with Buenos Aires expanding the ecosystem of support for business in innovative ways

Arial_View_Flora_Fountain_Bombay Courtesy: Wonderful Mumbai
22 June 2017

Heritage on the brand wagon

One of the conclusions drawn from a recent panel discussion, co-hosted by Gateway House and Avid Learning, on how brands are helping promote heritage conservation, moderated by Sifra Lentin, Mumbai History Fellow, was that there is an urgent need to preserve Mumbai’s natural and built heritage to meet the Maharashtra government’s target--the year 2020--for inaugurating the international financial centre at Bandra-Kurla Complex. Here is a summary of the concerns that the panellists raised

bandra kurla complex Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
19 December 2016

Bombay’s past and future as an IFC

The historic role of Bombay (as it was then called) as a hub for banking, commerce, trade, and shipping, and its financial clout a 100 years ago, are little known today. With the city scheduled to soon open an international financial services centre, it is worthwhile to recall and integrate this legacy with Mumbai’s present strengths in order to attract global capital to its IFSC

Chp 5. The Chartered Bank%2c Bombay Photo courtesy Dr Jehangir S. Sorabjee Courtesy: Jehangir S. Sorabjee
9 November 2016

Bombay and the City of London

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to India from November 6-8, her first to a country outside Europe, has been focusing on increasing bilateral trade and investments. But 300 years ago, London and Bombay shared a critical financial relationship.