Portrait of an East India Company Official, by Dip Chand, c. 1760. Victoria and Albert Museum.
“We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality,” William Dalrymple writes in the introduction of his book The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company. “It was not the British government that began seizing great chunks of India in the mid-eighteenth century, but a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by a violent, utterly ruthless, and intermittently mentally unstable corporate predator. India’s transition to colonialism took place under a for-profit corporation, which existed entirely for the purpose of enriching its investors.”
In this episode of The World in Time, Lewis Lapham talks to Dalrymple about the East India Company and how its existence bended history around it.
Lewis H. Lapham speaks with William Dalrymple, author of The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company.
Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.
Read an excerpt of The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company on Roundtable.