Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chanakya to Lakshmi Narayan Mittal : History of Indian Business

Indian Business class known as Vaishya was involved in different forms of trade and had a very prosperous time from Pre-Mauryan period. In Mauryan period , India experienced its first kingdom . The establishment of the kingdom, help the trade routes to be more secure . This enabled the business to reach new levels . It is in this period , that the 'Chanakya' – the master politician and a teacher of Takashashila University who later become the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya wrote “Arthasastra”. Arthasastra was a definite treatise of politics , economics and state administration . It had clear regulatory framework for a king , to manage his kingdom . Further ,Chanakya himself was also one of the earliest thinker, on the subject of political economy. .

Even at the time of Chanakya , Indian business people had a psyche of working for an higher ideal. They pioneered the thought of Corporate sccial responsibility . Indian business people where famous for there ideal of Niskam Karma. They have a firm belief on the following statement of Lord Krishna.

Mayi sarvaani karmaani sannyasyaadhyaatma chetasaa;
Niraasheer nirmamo bhootwaa yudhyaswa vigatajwarah.

30. Renouncing all actions in Me, with the mind centred in the Self, free from hope and egoism, and from (mental) fever, do thou fight.

- Bhagavad Gita , Chapter III , Verse 10

In medieval period , Mughal India was the second largest economy in the world. The gross domestic product of India in the 16th century was estimated at about 24.5% of the world economy, in comparison to Ming China's 25% share.

The dissolution of Mughal empire, itself brought some crises due to the weak administration, which helped Eastern Indian Company to gain control over India, using the Business route .

In the early 19th Century , there are modern business community which became very active . Marwaris became very active in Kolkata . The Parsees, become active in Mumbai . Though Persians could really get through things pretty easy in Mumbai, it was not so easy for Marwaris in Kolkata. The ethnic group originated from North western Indian state of Rajasthan belong to a desert, and are more exposed to a life style of scarcity . That made there fiscal discipline better than others.

( To be continued …..)


2. Chapter III , Bhagavad Gita , Ved Vyasa

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