Stories about east india company

Yes, Thugs of Hindostan is a copy of Pirates of the Caribbean but it’s still definitely worth watching

Aamir Khan, aka Mr Perfectionist, has always exceeded expectations, whether they are about the quality of films Bollywood is capable of producing or the amount of money a movie earns at the box office. Khan’s movies are always the “next big thing” in Bollywood and the audience waits for his new releases eagerly because they know they’re in for a spectacle. This time around, the next big thing is Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan, which is also said to have one of the most expensive outdoor settings in the history of Indian cinema. The trailer of this much-awaited movie was ...

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Lesson from the past: Why learning Mandarin is the precautionary measure that Pakistan needs to enforce right now

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which was originally valued at $46 billion and is expected to be a game changer for Pakistan’s economy, has been viewed with much scepticism since the day it was green lit. Some Pakistanis believe CPEC to be the equivalent of the Marshall Plan, an American initiative to aid Europe economically post World War II. Others believe that it is simply another East India Company (EIC) in the making, equivalent to calling CPEC a vehicle for colonialism. If you think about it, the idea that the Chinese could become the new British for us is not at all far-fetched. While the British ...

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Is CPEC a rebranded Chinese adaptation of the East India Trading Company?

The proposition that the currently under way China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is in fact a rebranded Chinese adaptation of the East India Trading Company is certainly fraught with massive inconsistencies. As has been prudently observed by many before me, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese state is going to use the garb of trade to forcefully occupy Pakistan, seize administrative control and establish a colony as a jewel in some sort of neo-Maoist Empire. Notwithstanding the ineptness of the Chinese at duplicating western artifacts, this might be a step too far, even for them. The simple corollary of these observations is that any attempts to draw a ...

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Roads and religion: How CPEC will pit Pakistan against itself

‘Exclusive: CPEC Master Plan Revealed’, read a headline this week in Pakistan’s daily newspaper, Dawn. Instantly, news outlets from across the world scrambled to analyse the text of the now-viral article and provided their own respective analyses of this said master plan. The two words themselves seem especially ominous, harkening to the devious plots hatched by cunning antagonists in the spy movies of old. The words, however, in many ways do justice to what was revealed. The plan includes details of leasing large tracts of land to Chinese companies for ‘demonstration projects’ in agriculture with similar concessions in land granted for the construction of ...

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Why is PML-N being so secretive about CPEC’s investment plan?

If the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) wasn’t already an enigma, the recent debates regarding its pros and cons have muddled this into an even bigger mess. On one hand, there are the knockers who didn’t shy away from labelling it as the future East India Company (EIC), and on the other, we have the blind patriots – the ones that hold CPEC at the highest level of sanctity, that merely questioning the transparency regarding CPEC’s projects amounts to treason for them. Undoubtedly, these directionless debates have a lot to do with the suspicion and political sensitivity created by the government around the CPEC framework. However, to me, ...

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Life at the fringes of empire: Edward Eastwick in Sindh

Edward Eastwick (1814-1883) entered the service of the East India Company at the comparatively late age of 22, after arriving in Bombay in the summer of 1836. This was not Eastwick’s first trip abroad. Following the unlikely advice of a family doctor and the ‘earnest solicitations’ of his wife, Eastwick’s father Robert had taken his sickly 10-year-old son on a year-long opium-trading voyage to China in 1825. Eastwick caught the travel bug, and probably many others besides. The privations of this early voyage may have gone some way to prepare Eastwick for his first posting in India as ‘Assistant Political Agent, Upper Sindh’. After an ...

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Is the Mughal Empire to blame for the schism created between Hindus and Muslims?

When we think of the Mughals, we immediately conjure images of artistic splendour, architectural grandeur, and military might. There is much to support the argument that the Mughal rule was the envy of the world at its peak with its efficient institutions, its system of Mansabdari, its large military, and its achievements in artistic and architectural design. The Taj Mahal, the Badshahi Mosque, Bibi ka Maqbara, Shalimar Gardens, the Deccan expeditions, the Rajput subjugation, the Maratha skirmishes – the list of accomplishments is as long as their tortuous and sometimes torturous reign. However, what classroom history often conveniently forgets is how different each Mughal ...

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Isn’t the Koh-i-Noor diamond better off with the British?

Just imagine, hypothetically speaking, that the British in their infinite wisdom and benevolence decided to return the Koh-i-Noor back to Pakistan, would we be able to maintain its splendour? Or keep it protected from theft? Or even protected from the corrupt hands of the numerous politicians who would be eyeing this as a ripe opportunity to rob Pakistan even further? In the hands of the British, at least we know the Koh-i-Noor is preserved and protected from any ill-intentioned parties. If Pakistan is not benefiting from the magnificence of the Koh-i-Noor then neither are the British. They have, after all, put it ...

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Why am I speaking for Shafqat Hussain?

A day before Shafqat Hussain was scheduled to be hanged on March 19th, I released a video called “How were you like when you were 14?” as my contribution to the #SaveShafqat campaign trending online.

Shafqat has completed his five-year prison term for involuntary manslaughter. Yes, there are no murder charges against him. He was originally convicted for murder by the trial court but the High Court in appeal overturned same in 2007. Shafqat now faces death only on one count – kidnapping for ransom. The Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 passed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government was designed in a way to ...

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Need a history lesson, Babar Awan?

I am at a loss to understand law minister Babar Awan’s fixation on “takhte Lahore”, a reference to Emperor Ranjit Singh’s reign. Others have also hijacked this phrase and have started to use it indiscriminately while referring to the present Punjab government headed by Shahbaz Sharif. While others could have been excused for their obvious ignorance of Punjab’s history, the words are surprising coming from a supposedly well-read person. After all, the minister is a son of the soil, to use a cliche. An empire as a gimmick To ridicule the golden period of Punjabi history for petty score settling ...

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