COLONY, CLUB AND CORPORATION: The persistence of gentlemanly capitalist networks in India from the British Raj to the present day
- 31 Mar 2016
‘Members only’: the exclusive social establishments of colonial South Bombay were known as gymkhanas – an Anglo-Indian term for gentlemen’s clubs. Still peppered around the Bombay coastline, they recall the luxury and glamour of the British Raj. And while the infamous ‘No Indians or dogs’ signs are long removed from those colonial verandas, access is still limited to the socio-economic elite.
Today, the Bombay club culture closely underpins the boardrooms of Indian manufacturing firms, especially those established under British patronage and passed down family lines. Research by Shachi Amdekar, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2016 annual conference in Cambridge, tells the story of these Indian industrial houses, which used the power of community and networks to rise from the chaos of empire and dominate Indian industry as we know it today.