Written by Shailesh Menon for Economic Times
One November afternoon in 2003, an Indian businessman named Sanjiv Mehta walked into the tony East India Club on St James’s Square, Central London, to meet a “powerful” director of the East India Company (EIC). Mehta, whose trading company distributed the products of the Tatas, Nestle and Unilever across Europe and the MENA region, had come by to secure handling rights for the wares of EIC.
Mehta was keen to get the mandate as the “resurrected East India Company” dealt in special teas and exotics – a missing piece in his expansive trading network. That apart, he longed for an association with EIC, besotted by its immeasurable antiquarian value. The idea, that an Indian sitting across the table and doing business with a British company that ruled nearly half the world for over 250 years, pleased him immensely.