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History

Podcast: Opium Was Just Another Commodity in British India, Purely Demand and Supply Focused

A new book by Joseph Sassoon, a professor of history and political economy at Georgetown University, traces the Sassoon family's remarkable rise and fall.

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The Sassoons were among the biggest business families in 19th-century Bombay, spreading from here to the Far East and the West. Their physical legacy is visible not just in western India but as far afield as Shanghai in the many institutions that bear their name.

How did a Jewish family of refugees from Baghdad become so big and powerful? The Global Merchants: The Enterprise and Extravagance of the Sassoon Dynasty, a new book by Joseph Sassoon, a professor of history and political economy at Georgetown University, traces their remarkable rise and fall.

In this podcast discussion with Sidharth Bhatia, he explains how the founder of the dynasty, David Sassoon, started small in Bombay and then grabbed every opportunity that came his way, from trading in opium to setting up textile mills.