The Ascent of John Company: From Traders to Rulers (1756-1787) by G.S. Cheema 

That, which, is my number 1 book of the year…

The That British East India Company. We all have read a bit or more about how it turned from a trader to a ruler and plundered the wealth of India. In this 354 page volume, the author explores how the Company came to see itself from mere traders to rulers. How they morphed from those wanting to monopolise the salt trade to those manipulating puppet regimes.

In this brilliant book, GS Cheema, a retired public servant, tells us how the Dutch “Jan” led to the name John Company. How the Battle of Plassey unfolded. Trivia – Plassey gets its name from an abundance of Palash trees in the area. And the flowers of Palash are the main ingredients of Gulaal, – yes that very powder that we use on Holi. And oh yes, Palash is also the state tree of Chandigarh!

The years of Robert Clive, the treachery of Mir Qasim, the tenure of Warren Hastings, the stories around Murshidabad and Awadh, the foresight with which the loot began, the Seth brothers bankrolling the English. How the English never let go of any and every opportunity that presented itself to their advantage. All charted here.

Thoroughly researched, the book follows years 1756-1787 and is THE must must read of 2017. You can order it on Amazon from here but unfortunately, a Kindle edition is yet to be released. Cant wait for the next volume!

Oh! Wait! There is this board game tooAnd that the East India Company – it still exists.

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