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This week, professor of history at the University of Delhi, Amar Farooqi looks at how the opium enterprise was operated in India under the British Raj. As part of a talk, organised by Apparao Galleries, Farooqi explores how the drug was produced as well as traded, transported and financed. “The history of the opium enterprise is something I got interested in while researching for my doctoral thesis on the development of capitalism in early 19th Century in Mumbai. I realised that the emergence of the city as a great commercial and financial centre could not be understood without carefully examining the role of opium. The British had tried to monopolize opium production in India that had led to smuggling,” he begins. Besides narcotics, Farooqi has also been working on various aspects of the history of modern India, primarily, the 19th century. As for the talk, he is looking forward to interacting with an informed audience and hopes they are interested in this crucial aspect of British colonialism, “I assume the immense popularity of works such as Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke (and Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis), which have opium as their central theme, would have aroused curiosity about the opium enterprise. I hope to be able to share some of my own views on this subject with my audience,” he concludes.
At Apparao Galleries, today, 6.30 pm onwards. Details: 28332226

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