Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction 2019, The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire by William Dalrymple is a learning history from a subaltern perspective. The dimension that the author brings in to this prequel to his earlier book The Last Mughal: The End of A Dynasty, is an unbiased outlook of how the least professional East India Company changed over the years and the face of the most powerful empire.
Dalrymple describes the corporate as “a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by a violent, utterly ruthless and intermittently mentally unstable corporate predator- Clive” Rich in anecdotes and nuances pertaining to the period that led to the spread of the colonial clutch across the country, the book traces the path chosen by the corporate predators to tear the country apart. The Anarchy also describes the different plots in the early days of the colonial era, like the Battle of Plassey, which played a major role in the colonization of the country. With details small and big, The Anarchy narrates the inglorious period of colonial domination by the world’s first corporate power, drawing parallels to the corporate culture that is dominating the entire world now.