British Conquest Of India - Unwritten History Part II
British East India Company did not have anything to sell in India except Opium that they obtained on the way to India.
After more than six hundred years, after the Roman sea-trade withered, Europeans were again trading with India over the sea. Romans found the sea route long time back. But then, we cannot discount the huge service East India Company did to this world. They created the first real MNC.
And what an MNC it was!
They acquired wealth within a matter of fifty years! From 1600 to 1650, the company grew by more than 10000 times in asset worth and value! The East India Company was not only the richest company in the world by 1650 but also it was richer than Britain! And when the British Government decided to dissolve the company in 1857-8, after the first war of Indian Independence, Britain grew richer to an unbelievable extent.
Nobody talks of why the company that was so successful, created Singapore and Hongkong for the world, should be dissolved in one stroke by the Act of a Parliament? Britain had never passed and never will pass a law to dissolve a company in its entire history, except this one!
Let me tell you the reasons for dissolving this company in 1858 after passing an Act of Parliament in 1853 for complete acquiring of the shares of the company and its properties.
1. The company did not have transparent accounting systems and had been cheating the British Government of millions of Pounds a year from 1700 onwards. It came up for hearing in the Parliament since then. Please see Parliamentary Proceedings of Great Britain on Google Books.
2. The company instead of trading started taxing people in the territories that they subdued. They were not acting as a company but as a government. They plundered and looted people. They killed and maimed people to meet their end.
3. They had acquired wealth out of East Indies by legal and illegal means.
4. They have brought untold misery to various people in that country.
All these are not of great import to the English. But what concerned them was:
'The union between the Constitutional Monarchy and the monopolizing monied interest, between the Company of East India and the “glorious” revolution of 1688 was fostered by the same force by which the liberal interests and a liberal dynasty have at all times and in all countries met and combined, by the force of corruption, that first and last moving power of Constitutional Monarchy, the guardian angel of William III and the fatal demon of Louis Philippe. So early as 1693, it appeared from Parliamentary inquiries, that the annual expenditure of the East India Company, under the head of “gifts” to men in power, which had rarely amounted to above £1,200 before the revolution, reached the sum of £90,000. The Duke of Leeds was impeached for a bribe of £5,000, and the virtuous King himself convicted of having received £10,000. Besides these direct briberies, rival Companies were thrown out by tempting Government with loans of enormous sums at the lowest interest, and by buying off rival Directors.' - this appears in The New York Tribune Jul 11, 1853.
And the following acquisition on East India Company:
'The power the East India Company had obtained by bribing the Government, as did also the Bank of England, it was forced to maintain by bribing again, as did the Bank of England. At every epoch when its monopoly was expiring, it could only effect a renewal of its Charter by offering fresh loans and by fresh presents made to the Government.
The ministers of the day and the people of the day claimed their share in the “wonderful treasures” imagined to have been won by the last conquests. The Company only saved its existence by an agreement made in 1767 that it should annually pay £400,000 into the National Exchequer.'
This because, the company was accused of using British soldiers and British Navy to acquire territory for itself!
Then, the final straw came. The East India Company said it needed money from the British government to exist and that it is making losses in India!
And therefore, the British Government finally decided that it had to dissolve the company!
Now, why is this important?
Today, for the first time in Indian history India has asked for an apology from Great Britain for atrocities committed in India during their reign. And in the same strain, they should have asked for a compensation! How could Great Britain give compensation to a country to which they paid money for upkeep?
Do you see the logic?
And what was the real story? Did East India Company really lose money in India? See the BBC video on East India Company available on Youtube. It mentions passingly of the kind of money they made and how Britain became rich after acquiring East India Company.
To give you some numbers: PDS 30,000 when they started business with India. They were given a loan by Queen Elizabeth and allowed to do export so much worth of Silver, gold coins for import of material from India. When they closed shop all directors and Great Britain were making PDS 12 million and more every year! 12 million pound sterling was very huge in those days.
Printed in 1697, the book England and East Indies inconsistent in manufactures tells you of the huge outgo of English exchequer and the balance of payment problems faced by Great Britain because of the huge imports from India through East India Company. And the English Parliament,'By the Act 11 and 12 William III, cap. 10, it was enacted that the wearing of wrought silks and of printed or dyed calicoes from India, Persia and China should be prohibited, and a penalty of £200 imposed on all persons having or selling the same', to save local industries.
Please also read
The East India Company — Its History and Results, an article written by none other than Karl Marx in the New York Herald Tribune in 1853, Jun 24.
More to come.