When Bombay overtook Calcutta: A history of India’s financial geography

How could I have missed this one.

My article on Bombay vs Calcutta appeared on Mint’s Sunday edition. It was partly based on my two previous posts – one and two). Though the Mint edition is far more colorful and is crisper.

Thanks a lot to Mint Sunday team for taking this forward in their paper…

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4 Responses to “When Bombay overtook Calcutta: A history of India’s financial geography”

  1. Shishir Says:

    I think this is the best blog about mainly Indian Economy.
    Thank you

  2. Nilanjan Banerjee Says:

    Enjoyed reading this in Mint. While you have listed many factors responsible for the shift of the financial center from Calcutta to Bombay that are already popular in public discourse, I found the list to be incomplete without the mention of the following two crucial factors:
    i) The Partition of Bengal – Partition led to the disruption of many established businesses, population explosion in Calcutta due to the influx of millions of refugees from East Pakistan and subsequent apathy of Central governments towards Eastern India in general and West Bengal in particular. [Reference: The Spoils of Partition: Bengal and India, 1947-1967, by Joya Chatterji]
    ii) The gradual demise of the managing agencies – Much of the big businesses in Calcutta during the British era were basically managing agencies, many of whose partners were the British people. The tectonic shifts in geography, politics and businesses after the partition took the life out of these managing agencies and the death knell was sounded when Indira Gandhi finally abolished managing agencies in 1970. A major factor behind the decline of Calcutta’s business scenario was the inability of these managing agencies to reinvent themselves as indigenous enterprises and survive the competition from their counterparts flourishing in other parts of the country, especially in Bombay. [Reference: Goras and Desis, by Omkar Goswami]

    Thank you!
    Nilanjan Banerjee.

    • Amol Agrawal Says:

      Hi Nilanjan. Thanks for the appreciation and kind comments (and yes the reference to read!). Oh yes there were many more factors. This was a newspaper article where one has to stick to the word limits and so on. There is this whole social history which is missing in the piece and is extremely crucial. Hopefully, can look all this up in future articles 🙂

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