By Maria Misra
This is a study of the political and economic activities of an important group of British businessmen in India between 1850 and 1960. Though denounced by Indian nationalists as the economic arm of the British Raj, the firms of these `Managing Agents' seemed unassailable before the First World War. However, during the inter-war period they rapidly lost their commanding position to both Indian and other foreign competitors. Dr Misra argues that the failure of these firms was, in part, the consequence of their particular (and ultimately self-defeating) attitudes towards business, politics, and race. She casts new light on British colonial society in India, and makes an important contribution to current debates on the nature of the British Empire and the causes of Britain's relative economic decline.