William Dalrymple: Corporate Violence and the East India Company


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Photograph of Clare Wright and William Dalrymple

Clare Wright and William Dalrymple at the Athenaeum Theatre — Photo: Jon Tjhia

Historian William Dalrymple ­­believes the stunning greed and violence of the militarised East India Company is ‘history’s most terrifying warning’ about unregulated corporate power, and the insidious means by which shareholders exert dangerous influence on the state.

Dalrymple – co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, and bestselling author of books including The Last Mughal, City of Djinns and Nine Lives – examines the corporation’s ruinous legacy in his latest work, The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company.

The Anarchy describes an aggressive colonial power operating under the guise of a multinational company, using a ruthless 200,000-strong private army to extort, plunder and dominate vast swathes of Central, South and Southeast Asia – answerable only to its distant investors. At a time when global media corporations and tech giants wield growing and increasingly pervasive power and influence, the story is a timely cautionary tale.

At this event, William Dalrymple joins author Clare Wright to discuss the long reach and devastating legacy of the East India Company.

35 episodes