Banians acted as intermediaries for European merchants in Bengal. They were highly influential in the eighteenth century but their importance waned thereafter. This article reexamines their role in the nineteenth century and argues that their importance persisted but evolved in response to changes in the Bengal economy and issues of contracting and governance. It shows that the banians remained a nexus between the local and global economies, facilitating a bidirectional transfer of knowledge. They enabled the development of innovative Indian business forms and contributed to the emergence of a diverse ecology of organizational forms and ownership in Bengal at the end of the nineteenth century.
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- corporate governance
- organizational forms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)