Click on the photo for better view

British Companies In Colonial India – Old Photo 1923

This is an old 1923 photograph of British company employees in colonial India. There are some handwritten inscriptions on the back that reads Calcutta 1923, Managers it employees, and something about Kahn & Kahn. The rest of the writing seems to be in French. As the text suggests the group portrait is of Indian managerial staff probably of the firm Kahn & Kahn. 

Before the coming of colonial rule, India for centuries had its own system of doing business. Based on caste, language, religion, or even region-wise. But all these were disrupted once foreign rule took full force across the country. The fabric of traditional businesses started thinning out slowly. Replaced with new methods of money dealing as of banking, moneylending, agencies, trade, etc.

All slowly aligning with the economic order of the world. Since the country being under colonial rule Britishers and other Europeans would also enter the field of business in the country. Traditional trading communities like Sindhis, Marwaris, Chettiars, and so on reorganized their business structures. The rest joined up with the British as mediators, managers, administrators, interpreters, traders, etc.

Some of them you will see in this old image. And also investing in trade and commerce. Massive growth ensued of internal markets, country’s development, and exports. The cotton boom and the lucrative opium export to China kick-started a flourishing of Indian businesses under the raj. A new era of the Indian private business class evolved from this development by the dawn of the 20th century. All this would change to a socialistic approach to businesses after a new India emerged in 1947.

Read also about 70 companies with pre-1947 roots.

Did you know- Nehru was inspired by the Soviet model and economic practices of Communist China.

From the collection- Drawing Hiding The Taj Mahal WW2., Vintage Book – Cochin Calling 1938., Aerial View of Bombay Harbour & Docks – Old Print 1931., Village Scene In Mumbai – Old Postcard 1903., Royal Indian Army Service Corps – Old Photo


The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, or stock photos or taken from other sources.

Photo Details

Year -


Photograph Size -

8 x 6 inches

Photographer -