British Raj Turned Mumbai into Drug Trade Center

MUMBAI: The East India Company was the British front for trade with eastern countries which mainly had dealings with India and China. Through the East India Company, the British empire got in-roads into the colonial expansion over India. Initially for trade, the company eventually forced its monopoly on Indian farmers, peasants and traders with the help of the locals who were being benefited by this trade.

mumbai old pic

East India Company flourished mainly due to the opium trade which they carried out on large scales across the Indian sub-continent as well as China.

Having to supply Indian opium to China, Calcutta (now Kolkata) developed as a place of importance for the East India Company. After Calcutta, Mumbai became the East India Company’s headquarter due to strategic location and ease of trade in the 19th century.

It is said that many Parsi, Baniya, Marathi and Konkni Muslim traders in the Company Raj also traded in opium and made big money. Development of Mumbai was mainly due to this drug money, which was earned during British time through the trade of opium.

But the trade also resulted in turning a lot of citizens into drug addicts, a condition which persists even today. A large part of the city population even today is addicted to drugs and thus, this drug business is still growing.

Bohri Mohalla, Fort
Bohri Mohalla, Fort

We got liberated from the British Raj but not from drugs which has spread like venom in the society and hampering the peace of the city. Drug addiction has caused a lot of crimes off late, but the root cause of this venom whose seeds were sowed by the East India Company in collaboration of a few selfish Indians is still unknown.

Here is a look at history to find out the roots of this medicinal herb becoming a cause for concern:

The root of opium can be followed back to the Middle East locale of Mesopotamia around 3100 B.C. Hundreds of years after the fact Alexander the Great sent out the opiate eastbound to India in 330 B.C. By 400 A.D. it turned into an extensive market in China where it was presented by Arab brokers.

Southeast Asia got its first measurement of opium in 1500 when Portuguese, while exchanging along the East China Sea, started the smoking of opium. Inside two centuries the Dutch were sending out shipments of Indian opium to China and the islands of Southeast Asia. In 1729, Chinese ruler Yung Cheng issued a decree which restricted the smoking of opium and its residential deal, with the exception of under permit for use as solution.

Opium Weighing in British India
Opium Weighing in British India

By the time utilisation of opium expanded, and by 1750 the British East India Company accepted control of Bengal and Bihar, the opium-developing locale of India. English delivery ruled the opium exchange out of Calcutta to China. By 1767, opium trades by the British East India Company to China achieved a stunning two thousand trunks of opium for each year. In 1793, the British East India Company built up syndication on the opium exchange. All poppy producers in India were illegal to pitch opium to contender exchanging organisations.



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