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FACTS & FIGURES: A SIGNIFICANT VOYAGE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    So much has been written about the voyages that the Europeans undertook, in the sixteenth century especially towards Asia with India and China in mind. In this context let me describe one such voyage to you. European affinity for India had grown from the medieval times and for compelling reasons—trade links. But it was only around 1600, when the East India Company was formed in London that concept of organised trade voyages to the Indian Ocean started gaining grounds.

       In 1583, a group of Englishmen sailed from Falmouth a town and port on the River Fal on the south coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, on a ship named ‘Tyger’ that was bound for West Asia. This group included local businessmen John Newberry, John Eldred and Ralph Fitch. It also carried a jeweller by the name of William Leedes, and a painter James Story—whose job was to draw sketches of, merchandise and sites, as cameras were not invented then.

    Newberry was a merchant-explorer who had two years of experience before undertaking a daring overland trip to Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and back, picking up Arabic on the way. Fitch was a leather merchant, and perhaps the most senior member in terms of age in the group. Eldred was a thirty-one-year old trader in Levantine silks which was from East Mediterranean. The trio Newberry, Fitch and Eldred had been close to two shareholders of the English Levant Company. These shareholders partly sponsored the expedition. The Company had been doing business in Constantinople also known as Istambul, for some years now, and even brought back samples of cotton cloth from India, silks from China, and spices of the Indonesian archipelago. The goal of the expedition was to explore a way to reach the original source of these goods.

    The party reached Tripoli in Syria, crossed the Lebanese mountains to reach Aleppo, (in present day Syria) and from there they sailed along the Euphrates, a river in South-West Asia, rising in Eastern Turkey and flowing south across Syria and Iraq to join the Greek river Tigris, and then to Al-Fallujah—Al Fallujah is a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly 69 kilometer west of Baghdad on the Euphrates. At this point Eldred stayed on to trade in spices, and the rest of the group journeyed on to reach Hormuz. Hormuz belonged to the Persian Empire, but in practice, the Portuguese ruled this port, so vital, to their policy of blocking the Indian Ocean routes to all but friendly ships. Their friends, the Venetian merchants, did not want English merchants in West Asia.

    So, it was not surprising, they were promptly arrested at Hormuz. The Portuguese chief justice gave a judgement that they were spies, ignoring the letters of introduction that they were carrying from Queen Elizabeth-1, addressed to the emperors of India and China.

    The party was sent on a Portuguese galleon—a sailing ship in use especially by Spain from the 15th to the 18th centuries, originally as a warship, later for trade, to Goa to be interrogated by the viceroy Don Francisco de Mascarenhas. There they were sent to captivity and were released after thirteen days. Once freed, the party lost no time setting up business in Goa. However, the Jesuits kept the pressure on them to convert to Catholicism, and allegedly hatched a plot to get them rearrested. Fearing further trouble the party escaped Goa late in 1584.

     The group then travelled to Belgaum overland. From there they went to Bijapur, Burhanpur, Mandu and Ujjain. A few miles before Ujjain, the group came across a colourful procession of Emperor Akbar. Early the following year, the group reached Agra. Although, the party appeared to have been well received at Akbar’s court, it is not known if any of these men actually met the emperor to deliver the letter of the Queen to him. The group now divided itself. Fitch was to travel to Bengal. Newberry was to go to England by the land route, and return with a ship to Bengal and meet Flitch there. Newberry did set out on the journey, but was not heard of again. Leedes took up service with the Mughal court and never ever returned to England. The others moved on to ‘Bengala’, the legendary land that supplied so many finely woven cloths to the markets of East and West Asia.

    From Agra Fitch went to Benares, the Bengal port of Saptagram (colloquially called Satgaon), and navigated through the treacherous waters of the Sunderbans to reach Bakla. Since he does not mention about a land journey or about changing a ship, it’ll be safe to assume that the town and kingdom of Bakla were located somewhere on the lower Meghna River or one of its tributaries, possibly the Tentulia, which is not very clear. The Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazl, the Mughal court officer and chronicler, mentioned some years after Fitch visited the place, that the town was destroyed by a giant tidal wave from the sea, taking two hundred thousand lives with it. Bakla reappeared as a Mughal zamindari—an estate run by a tax-collecting landlord or zamindar, but on a different and safer location. From old Bakla, Fitch travelled to Sripur and Sonargaon, two midsize kingdoms of the lower Bengal delta. He carefully noted all tradable goods to be found in India, from the pepper of Cochin, cloves of the Moluccas, (a group of islands in eastern Indonesia between Celebes and New Guinea; settled by the Portuguese but taken over by the Dutch who made them the center for spice monopoly, and at that time they were known as Spice Islands). Fitch also discovered the diamonds of Golconda, rubies of Pegu (Myanmar), to the ‘great store of Cotton cloth (from Bengal), and Rice, from where they served all India, Ceylon, Pegu, Malacca, Sumatra, and many other places.’ From Pegu, Fitch sailed for England, where he reached in April 1591.

    Master Ralph Fitch, one of the minor members of the party, became the most famous among them when the records of the travel appeared in print. This was the first travelogue of India by an Englishman. Fitch became a hero. The expedition had not achieved anything to serve the trade directly. But it sowed the seeds for the concept that a trade treaty between two kingdoms, Mughal India and Tudor England, is possible. This objective was better served some decades later by means of an organised body of merchants, and a united Company.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: THE EAST INDIA COMPANY: The World’s Most Powerful Corporation by Tirthankar Roy

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    This book is part of THE STORY OF INDIAN BUSINESS series. The series editor of which is Gurcharan Das. Before I take you through the summary of the book let me give you a brief introduction of the STORY OF INDIAN BUSINESS which Gurcharan Das has edited and has also provided a comprehensive introduction to it. There are ten books in this series which are as follows:

  1. Arthashastra: The Science of Wealth by Thomas R. Trautmann
  2. The World of the Tamil Merchant: Pioneers of International Trade by Kanakalatha Mukund
  3. The Mouse Merchant: Money in Ancient India by Arshia Sattar
  4. The East India Company: The World’s Most Powerful Corporation by Tirthankar Roy
  5. Caravans: Punjabi Khatri Merchants on the Silk Road by Scott C. Levi
  6. Globalisation before Its Time: The Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh by Chhaya Goswami (edited by Jaithirth Rao).
  7. Three Merchants of Bombay: Business Pioneers of the Nineteenth Century by Lakshmi Subramanian
  8. The Marwaris: From Jagat Seth to the Birlas by Thomas A. Timberg
  9. Goras and Desis: Managing Agencies and the Making of Corporate India by Omkar Goswami
  10. India Railways: Weaving of a National Tapestry by Bibek Debroy, Sanjay Chadha and Vidya Krishnamurthi

    Let me also give you a brief introduction of both Tirthankar Roy and Gurcharan Das.

    TIRTHANKAR ROY teaches economic history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His book The Economic History of India 1857-1947, now in its third edition, has changed the way Indian economic history is studied and taught worldwide.

    GURCHARAN DAS is a world-renowned author, commentator and public intellectual. His bestselling books include India Unbound, The Difficulty of Being Good, and India Grows at Night. His other literary works consist of a novel A Fine Family, a book of essays, The Elephant Paradigm, and an anthology Three Plays. He is a graduate from Harvard University. Das was earlier CEO of Procter & Gamble India, before he took early retirement to become a full-time writer. He lives in Delhi and often comes on talk shows in electronic media.

    The subject book THE EAST INDIA COMPANY—The World’s Most Powerful Corporation was first published by Penguin Random House India in India 2012. The price of this book is Rs 299.

    Says the Business World—‘The East India Company’ is an interesting inspection of how a colonial company defined the way we do business today.’

    It is a first-time account of the East India Company from the perspective of Indian business history. This ground-breaking study examines how the East India Company founded an empire in India at the time it started losing ground in business. For over 200 years, the Company’s vast business network had spanned across Persia, India, China, Indonesia and North America. But in the late 1700s, its career took a dramatic turn, and it ended up being an empire builder.

    In this well researched account, Tirthankar Roy reveals how the Company’s trade with India changed its profile—and further how the Company changed Indian business. Fitting together many pieces of a vast jigsaw puzzle, the book explores how politics meshed so closely with the conduct of business then, and what that tells us about doing business now. Many of the facts mentioned in the book were hitherto unknown to me till I read the book. He has done some exemplary research but more than that he has put the findings in context, quite well. The book explains how politics meshed so closely with the conduct of business then, and what that tells us about doing business now.

    It is a mid-spine book of some 237 pages. It is divided into ten chapters. Where, Tirthankar connects the whole cycle of events all too well. We all know there was an East India Company that ventured into India and many other regions of the world and gradually it captured power through this company and brought it under the British Crown. No one can forget the famous saying—the sun never sets on the British Empire. But then how did all of this happen? Who started it? How did it start? What went into play in the Europe of those times? How did the Dutch, Portuguese, French and the Britishers battle it out amongst themselves? Who were the voyagers who sailed first? How did they fight the pirates? How meekly did the Europeans enter countries like Persia, China, India, Indonesia, Smatra, Jawa, Burma, and many more and acquired a formidable trader’s position in these countries. To know all this read the book.

    There is a lavish introduction of the book by Gurcharan Das. The book in all has ten chapters. It essentially narrates the Business History of India, which was largely trading then, or you could say exports and imports. If Masala, tea or silk went out of Asia, Silver came in return as there was no common currency. The book also explains the configurations of the East India Company and the history of certain generic products and trade routes. In those times there was the maritime route and the ground route.

    Business may lose its ethics while it’s in red. The point gets proven when the British sovereign building on East India Company even made money by drugging the Chinese youth with opium that was grown in Bihar. This led to a fierce battle when they forced Chinese to surrender Hongkong to the British Crown under a treaty. The book describes the famous ports of India such as madras, Calcutta and Bombay.

    It highlights the dictum that business is based on trust far more than contract. It talks of monopoly markets. It gives an excellent Maritime description. It talks about the origin of joint-stalk Company, conflict of interest when some employees of the East India Company start discreetly doing business in India in their own name, and their politicians back in London start supporting them.

    It explains the transformation of the Company from a trader to an empire-builder, with reference to its own organisational structure and to the opportunities that came its way. And what effects did the Company, as a trader and as an empire, impart upon the economy and business organisation in India. From 1833 the Company ceased to exist as a trading body. Thereafter it existed as an administrator of India in partnership with the Crown.

    It is an interesting book for those readers who are interested in digging into the business history of India. Generally when we think of British Crown and East India Company we think of the various wars that were fought on Indian soil. This is definite variation. The narration is a little monotonous but balances out well with the data and findings it brings with it. And one cannot blame the author as he has converted his research into a book. The language is plain and simple and in no way flowery. Quite a must read for people in business and even MBA students.

    I would give it seven out of ten.

***

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

INTERESTING FACTS FIGURES & QUOTES: EPISODE 24

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

‘The best management is sometimes less management or no management at all.’ William Coyne, who led 3M’s R&D efforts for over a decade, believed a big part of his job was to leave his people alone and protect them from other curious executives. He said: ‘After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it is doing.

Purple patch means, a run of success, a winning streak.

‘More sinned against than sinning.’ Is an expression used by those who may be guilty of wrongdoing, but consider themselves the victim of a more serious wrong against them. The phrase comes from William Shakespeare’s play King Lear.

Indonesia which has a population of 270 million (27 crores) and is spread over more than a thousand inhabited islands, managed its recent elections in just one day. Can India ever do the same?

People are more effective when they conquer smaller tasks and celebrate small victories.

Football: We are not Japan who can keep the ball for long spells, especially when we play better opponents—says Sunil Chhetri, Captain Indian Football team.

Indian political outfits can learn from their Western counterparts like the Republicans and Democrats in the US or Tories and Labour in the UK, where the grassroots have a say in choosing party leaders, and defeat leads to churning and shuffling of leaders on the top deck.

Odisha has had close to 300 cyclones between 1800 and 2019 categorized as extremely severe to severe to moderate including cyclone Fani.

Joseph Kennedy (American businessman, investor and politician) once said, ‘The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis,’ one brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity in crisis, so be aware of the danger –but recognize the opportunity.

World War I lasted from 1st August 1914 to 11th November 1918 (1564 days).

There are about 165 major rivers in the world. These major rivers are long and wide enough to be classified as major rivers with large volumes of water flowing through them every day. They have tributaries that provide fresh water to billions of people.

The Amazon River is the largest in the world. It is 3,980 miles or (6,400 kilometers) long, according to the U.S. National Park Service. It is, however, the world’s largest river by volume and contains 20% of the Earth’s fresh water, according to the National Science Foundation.

Artificial Intelligence is enabling computers to do our thinking for us, and do it much faster and better than we can ourselves.

People from the pharmacy industry know very well that it takes 12 years to make a new drug and maybe it costs $1 billion.

Indira Gandhi openly backed the Bengali Guerrilla movement in 1971 and opted for the military offensive to liberate Bangladesh after asking the army to prepare for the final push at least five months before the war in December. Whereas, Manmohan Singh from the same party, decided to exercise restraint after the 26/11 terror strike on Mumbai.

To scrape the barrel or to scrape the bottom of the barrel means to be reduced to using things or people of the poorest quality because there is nothing else available.

There are many references in the Bible with regard to God’s beneficence in Nature. “When a tree is wantonly cut down, its voice rings from one end of the earth to the other. Be like a tree, because the tree gives shade even to those who cut off its boughs.”

Gun violence in America is out of control. It has been for some time now, but with 307 mass shootings in the first 311 days of 2018. It is reaching, one a day average. Gun homicide rate in the US is 25 times higher than in other high-income countries.

Only 65% of Indian children are presently covered-under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). Mission Indra-Dhanush’s configuration will cover 90% full immunization coverage by 2020.

India has only one individual gold medal to show for 92 years of Olympic participation.

A house insurance costs just Rs 6-12/ day however only less than 1% people who can afford it have house insurance.

In Greek mythology, Prometheus, (possibly meaning forethought) is a Titan, culture hero, and trickster figure who is credited with the creation of man from clay, and who defies the Gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity, an act that enabled progress.

Dutch-Scilly War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly (located off the southwest coast of Great Britain) (has lasted from 1651- to 1986: 335 years) is one of the longest, and even the strangest, wars in the world’s history, characterized by a complete absence of battles and bloodshed. It is known as the Three Hundred and Thirty-Five Years’ war. The conflict began on March 30, 1651, as a by-product of the English Civil War. That this war ever existed is disputed. It is said to have been extended by the lack of a peace treaty for 335 years without a single shot being fired.

The country with the most time zones is France, mostly due to its various territories around the world.

Vatican City with a population of fewer than 1,000 people, is the smallest population of any country in the world.

Whether elephants make love or war, the grass always suffers is a hackneyed expression.

Harry S. Truman the 33rd President of the United States once said, ‘It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.’

“The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of the word is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.” said Chinese philosopher Chaung Tzu.

The soldier above all others prays for peace—said American five star general DOUGLAS MACARTHUR.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started—said American writer Mark Twain.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****