Blue Flower

J.B.P. More

 

Indian Steamship Ventures, 1836-1910

Darmanathan Prouchandy of Pondicherry

First Steam Navigator from South India (1891-1900)

 

LPMS, 2013, Pondicherry - 116 pages, Notes, Bibliography, Index

Price : Rs.150

 

 

Even before the middle of the nineteenth century when westerners held India and Southeast Asia under their administration, Indians had demonstrated their enterprising capacity and spirit by taking to newly invented modern technologies and developing their business activities where they were in direct competition with the enterprises of the citizens of the colonial nations.

The noted historian, J.B.P.More retraces in this book, published in India towards the end of the year 2012 the activities of Indians in the sector of steam navigation. The author had already written for the readers of CIDIF an article in French on the career of the Pondicherrian, Darmanathan Prouchandy in French Indochina towards the end of the nineteenth century(1). Prouchandy was the first Pondicherrian and Tamilian to establish a steam navigation line in 1891. He was also the first Indian to attempt to run a passenger steamer by sea in 1895. The venture of Darmanathan Prouchandy described in detail in this book, was not the only one of its kind. Many other businessmen undertook measures to found and run steam navigation enterprises. Above all it was in Bengal and the East of India that such activities developed. We come across here several known names like those of the family of Tagore and Tata and a number of Tamil Chettiars who operated with intensity between Burma and the south-east part of the Indian peninsula.

Among these enterprises, a special mention needs to be made of the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company which ran steamers from Tuticorin to Colombo from 1907 and which was initiated by V.O.Chidambaram. The latter had met the nationalist poet Bharati at Madras and was filled with a strong sense of patriotism. He worked for the establishment of purely Indian enterprises.

All these ventures had to face difficulties as the capitalist interests of the colonial nations never allowed a fair and equitable competition. Nevertheless some Indians seized the opportunities to indulge in modern business activities since this period. By recounting their exploits in this book, J.B.P.More pays a deserved homage to them.

 

Review by Roland Bouchet, La Lettre du CIDIF, 16 February 2013

 

1.Lettre du Cidif, No.38 du 30 Novembre 2008

 

The Book is available at :
Higginbothams, Pondichéry
Mary Martin Booksellers, Singapore -
Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.
Barathi Puthagalayam, Chennai -
Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.
Other Books, Calicut -
Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.