Chhaya Goswami

Research Fellow 2019 supported by The William Lind Foundation

Chhaya Goswami is Assistant Professor at S K Somaiya College, University of Mumbai and has researched and published extensively on maritime and social-economic history. Her Fellowship will be spent looking at ‘The Business Firms of Glasgow in Bombay c. 1850-1920', in particular by examining the archives of the textile firm, James Finlay & Co, which had branches in Bombay and Calcutta.

By reading the business papers, miscellaneous records, branch papers of Finlay & Co and other documents, Dr Goswami’s research intends to view the global trading networks beyond the political boundaries of formal empire and offers an alternative perspective on Indo-Scottish business history, which reveals more competition between the trading firms of different origins and more strategic choices available to the Indians and Scottish merchants.

This study plans to make the comparisons of business models in a transoceanic setting and wishes to show how the nautical distance was bridged by Scottish business firms in developing the global age of commercial collaborations. A comparison between the business firms in Bombay and Glasgow would add to the current historical approach of convergence and divergence. It is also intending to exhibit the harmonious and conflicting interplay of these firms. Looking at the multitude of commercial activities of the Glasgow business firms in Bombay, I also propose to do research on the impact of their trading presence in Bombay.

The University of Glasgow Library has a unique archival collection, which offers an incisive perceptivity into the business history of Bombay. Drawing upon the rarely tapped sources, I will be able to reconstruct the narratives of the Indo-Scottish merchants and their commercial ventures. Doing research at the University of Glasgow will also enable me to shape interactive ideas and exchange them with the students and academic community.