Dr Chhaya Goswami, Honorary University Fellow, University of Exeter, UK, specializes in western Indian Ocean maritime history. She has authored a previous book on Kachchhi traders. Her current research explores maritime trade and piracy in the gulfs of Kachchh and Persia in the eighteenth century.
JAITHIRTH (JERRY) RAO is an author, columnist, banker, IT entrepreneur and the founder of two companies.
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 practise 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.