17 January, 2021

Calcutta Diary

So what is the key to the problem of West Bengal caught, as it is, between the devil of the old-guard Marxists and the deep sea of Mamata?

Calcutta Diary
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House Of Matheson

If you’ve read James Clavell’s Tai Pan and Noble House, you might know that the books were based on the story of Jardine Matheson, the Fortune-500 Hong Kong business group. But you probably don’t know their Calcutta connection. Dr William Jardine (the model for Dirk Struan of Tai Pan) started out as a Calcutta doctor on an East India Company ship that plied to Canton and back in the early 1800s. He had a profitable little side business, carrying a chest of opium from Calcutta on each voyage, and selling it in Canton. Finding that his opium trading was much more lucrative than his medical practice, he started a trading house (in partnership with an enterprising Indian passenger, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy—but that’s another story). In time, Jardine teamed up with another Calcutta boy, James Matheson, who, having been...

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