India can lay claim to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, and its economic history is truly long and complicated. The present can’t be divorced from the past, and you can better understand today’s India if you have an idea of where it came from, economically speaking. This section focuses on the history of economy and trade in India.
India is ancient. The Indus Valley civilization, an urbanized society that thrived between 2800 BC and 1800 BC, was economically very sound. The city-states of Mohenjo, Daro, and Harappa were well-planned and apparently carried on a flourishing trade with other civilizations like the Mesopotamians, Sumerians, and Egyptians. So doing business with foreign countries is nothing new to India.
Rudimentary forms of today’s corporations also developed in ancient India. These corporations were known as nigams, sangams, and srenis and were basically organizations of merchants and traders common from around the 8th century BC to the 10th century AD. They covered virtually every aspect of business life.
Throughout India’s early history, a number of empires and dynasties rose and fell. Economically speaking, the most notable dynasty was the Mauryas. They united most of the subcontinent between 321 and 185 BC. The Mauryas established a common currency, and trade flourished.
The Maurya dynasty owes its existence to a man named Chanakya, scholar-politician, who wrote a renowned ...