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Palmer and Company: an Indian Banking Firm in Hyderabad State

  • Author(s): LEONARD, KAREN
  • et al.
Abstract

AbstractAlthough the misreading of Hyderabad's early nineteenth century banking firm, Palmer and Company, as scandalous, illegal, and usurious in its business practices was contested at the time in Hyderabad, and at the highest levels of the East India Company in both Calcutta and London, such conspiracy theories have prevailed and are here challenged. The Eurasian William Palmer and his partner, the Gujarati banker, Benkati Das, are best understood as indigenous sahukars or bankers. Their firm functioned like other Indian banking firms and was in competition with them in the early nineteenth century as Hyderabad State dealt with the increasing power of the British East India Company and its man-on-the-spot, the Resident. Historians need to look beyond the English language East India Company records to contextualize this important banking firm more accurately.

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