The East India Company That Ruled Over Us For 100 Years Is Now Owned By An Indian
The history of Indian Independence has come a full circle. It is indeed a matter of pride that the East India Company that ruled us for 100 years, is owned by an Indian today. Mumbai-born entrepreneur Sanjiv Mehta bought major stake in the company with a whopping $15 million in 2010, and became the proud owner of the company.
Born in Mumbai in a family of diamond merchants, Sanjiv managed to purchase the company from around 40 stake holders in a process that was long-drawn and tedious. But he did not give up, even after the acquisition. He said, “When I took over, my objective was to understand its history. I took a sabbatical from all other business and this became the single purpose in my life.” He travelled extensively studying the history and business of the company, visited its trading posts and museums, studied old records – basically, he did not leave room for error of ignorance.
Speaking on the emotional and historic relevance of the purchase, Mehta had said, “Put yourself in my shoes for a moment. On a rational plane, when I bought the company I saw gold at the end of the rainbow.But, at an emotional level as an Indian, when you think with your heart as I do, I had this huge feeling of redemption — this indescribable feeling of owning a company that once owned us.”
Under the leadership of Mehta, the brand aims at selling luxury gift sets, teas, coffees, jams and other such goods via an e-commerce website. Of course, this is not a purely emotional purchase and Mehta means business. He launched the brand and its flagship store on Independence Day in the same year.
The East India Company, which was started in 1600, was the first and biggest organization that dominated trade in the 17th and early 18th century. Entering India in 1757, it gained foothold on Indian land in no time. Crushing indigenous traders and farmers, it soon established monopoly over our country’s produce, and crippled homegrown business.
From science & technology to business, Indians are ruling the world today. Be it Sundar Pichai becoming the CEO of Google, or Lakshmi Mittal being one of the richest men in Britain, Indians have proved their talent and enterprise everywhere. For a country that was oppressed by the British for 200 years, that’s an awful lot to have achieved in so less a time.
As they say, the power to change the course of history lies in the hands of those who dream. And Sanjiv Mehta is yet another Indian who has proved this true.