A saga of corporate greed and plunder

William Dalrymple’s expansive and enormously rewarding new book The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence and the Pillage of Empire (Bloomsbury; Rs 699) starts, oddly enough, with a word and a work of art. The Hindi word is “loot”, which long ago passed into the English lexicon for plunder. The artwork is more complex: It is a lavish painting of an enthroned Mughal passing a scroll to a bewigged Englishman. Hanging in Powis Castle in Wales, home to the Clive family and stuffed to this day with some of the EIC’s priceless loot, it portrays the momentous tur.....

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