Partners, servants or entrepreneurs? Banians in the 19th century Bengal economy.

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Abstract

Banians acted as intermediaries for European merchants in Bengal. They were highly influential in the 18th century but viewed as of waning importance thereafter. This article re-examines their role in the 19th century, and argues that these relationships persisted but evolved. It shows that the banians remained a nexus between the local and global economies, facilitating a bi-directional transfer of knowledge. This led to the development of innovative Indian business forms in response to changes in the Bengal economy, and the emergence of a diverse ecology of organizational forms and ownership in Bengal at the end of the 19th century.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness History Review
Publication statusAccepted - 05 Mar 2019

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