Among all prominent Indian merchant communities, the Parsis (Zoroastrians) have played a momentous role in the growth of commerce and industry in India from the 18th century to the present. They were actively involved in commodity production and Indian Ocean trade. Their trade networks encompassed all major ports between the Red Sea and the South China Sea and by the mid-19th century, the Parsi diaspora spread in East Africa, the Red Sea and Persian Gulf regions, East and South-east Asia, and Europe. More than others, the Parsis associated themselves with the Europeans (English and the Dutch) and benefited, in the 19th century, from the British colonial political and economic structures. In post-colonial India, they have continued to play a significant role in the economy of the country and, recently, have come to play a major role in global business. In this talk, Nadri explores the role of political, social, and cultural factors in their rise to prominence as a merchant community and their entrepreneurial accomplishments.
Ghulam A. Nadri is Associate Professor at the Georgia State University, Atlanta, US. He specializes in the history of early modern and modern India/South Asia (17th-19th centuries) and studies its societies and economies in the broader framework of the Indian Ocean world and global history. During 2011-2012, he was the Newton International Fellow at the Economic History department of the London School of Economics, UK. He obtained his PhD in History in 2007 from Leiden University. His major publications include Eighteenth-Century Gujarat: the Dynamics of Its Political Economy, 1750-1800 (Leiden: Brill, 2009) and The Political Economy of Indigo in India, 1580-1930: A Global Perspective (Leiden: Brill, 2016).
The Leiden Indian Ocean Lectures series is organised by Leiden University, KITLV and IIAS.
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