|East India Company flag (1801)en.wikipedia.org|
|Banyan (agent)-a native of Surat.Brtish India. diwancybermuseum.com|
Possessing large properties with most extensive credit and influence they were absolute monarchs in their respective fields of operations. So vast was their influence that Calcutta was once under the control of about 20 or 30 banyans, who managed every concern in which they could lay their hands on and find means to make a profit. Likewise Madras had about 12 Dubashis, acting as intermediaries between the natives and British Sahibs (Durai). They very well knew the horoscope of English sahibs and their planet positions!! They knew their weakness as well as strength.
It was impossible for British men to carry on his daily activities, particularly trading without support from Banyans. Obviously these people enjoyed political clout, pelf and power. At one point of time corrupt British officials in the Madras Residency engaged in financial irregularities and the Indian agents were their accomplices. No body, not even the rulers could see the governor without obliging the chief Dubashi. (source: from a few references that made a mention of colonial agents)