|Sir. Jejeebhoy, opium trader, Colonial India en.wikipedia.org|
Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy (15 July 1783 -14 April 1859),the first Baronet of Bombay was a wealthy man in the 1800s, not withstanding the fact that he came from a poor family and handicapped by the loss of his parents at a young age of 16. Undeterred he wanted to make his fortune in mercantile trade - Cotton and opium and made his first voyage to China in his teens with encouragement given by his uncle.
It was his fourth voyage on a British Trade Ship called the ''Brunswick'' to China that became a turning point in his life. Because of the Napoleonic Wars and hostilities between the British and the French going on in the Indian Ocean, his ship was seized by the French and Jejeebhoy was taken as hostage to the Cape of Good Hope, a ''Neutral territory'', and later was handed over to the Dutch. After the ordeal he took four long months to reach Calcutta. Soon he made voyages to China in pursuit of wealth.
in on one particular commodity that was selling like hot cake and almost 5% to 10% of Chinese population was dependent on it.
Thanks to the wily officials of the East India company to whom profit mattered most, not human health of an Asian country. Yes,
that commodity was ''opium'' and the main supplier was India.
Opium (poppy tears, Lachryma papaveris) is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy ( Papaver somniferum). About 12 percent of the opium latex is made up of the analgesic alkaloid morphine, which is processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioid for medicinal use and for illegal drug trade.
As for Jamsetjee he started his trading firm, Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy & Co, with three other partners, each from a different community.
There were Motichund Amichund, a Jain who had close
ties with the opium producers in Malwa, Mohammed Ali
Rogay, a Konkani Muslim, a ship-owner/ captain and finally Rogério de Fariathe a Goan Catholic Rogério de Faria, who had connections with the Portuguese authorities that controlled the port at Daman. Initially, there were some restrictions by the Portuguese. Jardine Matheson then began its transformation from a major commercial agent of the East India Company into the largest British trading hong or firm, in Asia. The illegal opium trade improved the company's performance.
|Opium in China. ndiasfirstwarofindependance1857.blogspot.com|
Their philanthropy has brought them out of the stained world of narcotics and showed them in limelight. They knew very well that they were involved in illegal activities and the product opium they were exporting to China had created millions of drug addicts, facing slow death. In the early 19th century, drug addiction peaked in China and between 10 to 12 millions were addicts. Thanks to the efforts made by the ESI who had their eyes glued on the dough coming from China and filling up their coffers The victim was China and its large population of gullible people. Being smart as they were, the English company to avoid accusations of trafficking in contraband, auctioned the product in Calcutta rather than selling it in Canton. The Trading agents, middle agents and others peddled the product upriver and took it to every corner of mainland China and created burnouts.
The Chinese' repeatedly appeal fell on the deaf ears of the EIC officials. Having no other recourse soon China took serious action as the addition menace went up beyond control. They raided the warehouses and burned the chests of opium stacked up there. The Canton Trading company and smugglers were taken aback.
In the wake of the Chinese action, while William Jardine urged England for British reprisals, Jamsetjee wrote letters urging the British to force China to compensate the traders’ losses. It is to be noted merchants in Bombay and Calcutta took enormous risk as they had to pay had currency for the drug and their partners in Canton would pay in the form of bills of exchange after selling the drug to the smugglers. It is a long process to redeem it.
In 1858, the year Victoria was crowned Empress of India, the East India Company that became a drug trader, made 15,317,337 pounds sterling, or 48% of its Indian income, from land revenues and it shows how India was squandered by the British during their long stay in India. In the same year, its opium sales peaked at 6,864,209 pounds sterling, which means opium provided a little over 21% of the total income of the Indian government that year. Just imagine how this vast income had put the British economy on top at the depredation of India and its people, not to speak of turning millions of Chinese into Zombies
|Treaty of Tientsin.June1859 after China lost the war ndiasfirstwarofindependance1857.blogspot.com|
|philanthropist Jejeebhoy, opium trader complex legacy, colonial India thehindu.com|