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Chhaya Goswami

Globalization Before Its Time

The Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh

PRH India 2016

New Books in African StudiesNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in South Asian StudiesNew Books in the Indian Ocean World September 24, 2020 Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi

Chhaya Goswami’s Globalization Before Its Time: The Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh (Penguin Random House India) asks: How did the Kachchhi traders build on the...

Chhaya Goswami’s Globalization Before Its Time: The Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh (Penguin Random House India) asks: How did the Kachchhi traders build on the Gujarat Advantage?

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, during the dying days of the Mughal empire, merchants from Kachchh established a flourishing overseas trade. Building on a rich legacy of free trade in pre-modern times between the many ports of Gujarat and the Middle East, the Kachchhis dealt in pearls, dates, spices and ivory with the faraway lands of Muscat and Zanzibar.

The Kachchhi merchants behaved much like today’s venture capitalists. They knew how to grow capital, seek new markets, and create them where they didn’t exist. They also had a phenomenal risk appetite. What they were able to practice was nothing less than the traits of globalization before its time. This new book in The Story of Indian Business series tells their fascinating story.

Chhaya Goswami is the head of the History Department, S. K. Somaiya College, Mumbai, India. She specializes in the maritime history of South Asia and the western Indian Ocean. She has authored the award winning book by the Indian History Congress, The Call of the Sea, Kachchhi Traders in Muscat and Zanzibar c.1800–1880 (Orient Blackswan, 2011). Her current research project focuses on ‘Maritime Trade and Piracy in the Gulfs of Kachchh and Persia 1650–1820.’


Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at almaazmi@princeton.edu or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.