An Indian entrepreneur is relaunching the famous East India Company with the opening of a luxury food store in London on Saturday.
The event takes place on the same day that – more than 135 years ago – the company was dissolved. At the height of its power, the East India Company controlled large parts of India with its own armed forces. But it was disbanded after soldiers of the company’s own army rose in revolt against the British in 1857.
A tiny rump of the company lived on, however, consisting of its trading name and a small tea and coffee concern.
This shadow of what was once a global trading power was acquired in 2005 by Indian businessman Sanjiv Mehta, who has turned it into a consumer brand focused on luxury foodstuffs.
He told the BBC that the project was not simply a commercial venture – there was an emotional connection too. “It is a dream come true to build a business like this and to acquire a brand like this to own the company,” he said.