Wednesday, June 29, 2005

On Nick Robins's article regarding The East India Company

Nick Robins's article "The world's first multinational" (below) is a a good and thought-provoking piece in the current context, but it takes too negative a view of the East India Company.

Moreover, it fails to distinguish between the three phases of the Company's involvement with India:

1. from 1600 to 1827 or so, when it was a simple matter of looting India as much as possible, as Robins notes (leading to the Nabobs in Britain)

2. from 1827 or so till 1880 or so, when the Co was forced to develop and implement what we would today call "Corporate Social Responsibility", as a result of the work of the Clapham Group (sometimes called the "Clapham Sect") - that work is an entirely untold story, because of the impact of the Darwinists who have obliterated their story as well as many other such stories from history - Robins seems to be unaware of this

3. from 1880 or so till the independence of India in 1947, when (as a result of the impact of Darwinism) the Raj became a sort of "hangover" of the past with no purpose to it (in the first phase, it was loot; in the second phase, it was stewardship; in the third phase, after the impact of the Darwinists, naturally all purpose was lost, not only to the Raj, but also to humanity and indeed to all life and to the universe itself) - again, something of which Robins seems to be unaware.

Given, additionally, the lack of men in Britain following the two World Wars, it was only a matter of time before the Raj came to end - surprising, really, that it lasted 70 years or so after Phase 2 (comes back, possibly, to my point about generations?)

"The world's first multinational"
by Nick Robins's
Published in New Statesman, 9 December 2004

NS Essay 1- Corporate greed, the ruination of traditional ways of life, share-price bubbles, western imperialism: all these modern complaints were made against the British East India Company in the 18th century. Nick Robins draws the lessons:

In The Discovery of India, the final and perhaps most profound part of his "prison trilogy", written in 1944 from Ahmednagar Fort, Jawaharlal Nehru described the effect of the East India Company on the country he would shortly rule. "The corruption, venality, nepotism, violence and greed of money of these early generations of British rule in India," he wrote, "is something which passes comprehension." It was, he added, "significant that one of the Hindustani words which has become part of the English language is 'loot'".


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