Guide Opium Traders and Their Worlds-Volume One

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In official British records the label 'Daman opium' soon became a synonym for smuggled Malwa opium. The smuggling route remained active till the end of the s and was eventually abandoned after the First Opium War. The Opium War coincided with another event, namely the conquest of Sind by the British.

The annexation of Sind in blocked the route from Rajasthan to Karachi. A reinterpretation of the evidence on the conquest of Sind suggests that 'some correlation existed between British opium policy on the one hand and the decision to annex Sind' 7. With the military occupation of Karachi by British troops in , prior to the annexation of the kingdom, opium supplies to Daman dried up. The early s marked the end of the historically crucial first phase - the smuggling phase - of the Malwa opium enterprise.

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Narcotrafficking was a source of capital accumulation for the nascent Indian bourgeoisie operating under colonial constraints. On the other hand, participation in the international trade in opium had far-reaching implications for Portuguese territories in India. This is a subject that requires much further research. One outcome was the greater degree of interaction at various levels between Portuguese India and British India in the nineteenth century. This increased interaction might partly account for the intellectual ferment in Portuguese India during the latter half of the century.

Rochelle Pinto's study of printing and the public sphere in Goa during the post period demonstrates that the emergence of a vibrant public sphere in Portuguese India and debates on cultural and political issues were closely linked to intellectual trends in late nineteenth century British India during the early nationalist phase 8. Such a development assumes a closer relationship between the Portuguese settlements and the British Empire in India than had been possible in the preceding two centuries of relative isolation.

Opium Traders and Their Worlds-Volume One by M. Kienholz - Read Online

The economic integration of the two colonial spaces in the era of opium smuggling created the historical conditions for these developments. The Portuguese settlements on the West Coast of India should not be viewed in isolation. They were part of a larger Portuguese Indian Ocean network, the latent potential of which came into full play with the opium trade. At one end of this network was the Mozambique-Gujarat link.

A number of Gujarat merchants were active in Mozambique as were Indo-Portuguese merchants 9. Circa , offi cial Daman customs earnings from the trade with Mozambique stood at Rs. This was the second largest source of revenue after opium Mozambique was an important market for East African slaves in the early nineteenth century Further, Gujarat supplied cloth to Mozambique in return for slaves and ivory We shall have more to say on the slave trade a little later.

Then there was the commerce between Macau and the Portuguese colonies on western coast of India. Smuggled Malwa opium gave a boost to this commerce.

There were a few other branches of this network, as the one between Macau and Timor, in which sandalwood was the main commodity The entire network derived from space that Portuguese colonialism had historically appro priated as the first European colonial power in the Indian Ocean. This space was represented in territorial terms by strategically located settlements in the region.

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It also rested on traditional ties with indigenous and private European particip ants in Asian sea-borne commerce. This is not to suggest that this network was very strong. Quite to the contrary. But it was not extinct. The Portuguese empire in Asia survived by letting out the space that it had appropriated in the Indian Ocean to nu merous entrepreneurs who operated in the backwaters of the Company's empire in Asia. These could be Chinese, Gujarati, Parsi or private British traders. Portuguese colonial elites reinforced their own traditional ties with these groups by sharing their space with them in return for a minor share of earnings.

They were thereby able to escape complete marginalization in a viciously competitive world. This was the underbelly of the Portuguese Indian Ocean Empire. Pirates, brigands, smugglers, adventurers, mercenaries, slave-traders, swindlers, cheats and run-away convicts constituted what has been referred to by George Winius as the Portuguese 'shadow empire' in Asia The development of the Malwa opium export trade on the West Coast may be attributed to traders of Macau, Goa and Daman.

The origin of the trade dates back to the s when small quantities of the drug might have been supplied to China through Macau The Company's monopoly over Gangetic opium obviously motivated Indo-Portuguese traders to use their contacts in western India to procure Malwa opium. Macau traders had been dealing in Bengal opium during the eighteenth century, and continued to do so, but an alternative source of supply would not have been unwelcome.

Morse in his Chronicles of the East India Company Trading to China refers to a representation made by the Portuguese authorities of Macau in to the English officials at Canton about the import of Malwa opium from Bombay What prompted the representation was not the importation of opium from a source other than Gangetic eastern India this was really a matter of concern for the East India Company rather than the Portuguese authorities , but 'the fact that the opium was discharged and sold at Whampoa, to the detriment of Macao' More than the Macau Portuguese it was the Indo-Portuguese traders on the West Coast of India who acquired large stakes in the growth of the Malwa opium trade.

Being closer to the areas of production, they could pocket larger profits. The Indo-Portuguese traders of the West Coast virtually pio neered large-scale exports of Malwa opium to China in partnership with the Gujarat and Bombay traders at one end and the Macau Portuguese at the other. He was part of a group of Indo-Portuguese entrepreneurs who procured Malwa opium from Rajasthani and Gujarati suppliers for onward shipment to Macau. Portuguese records relating to the opium trade in Daman, Goa, Diu and Macau have only been partially mined. At the beginning of the nineteenth century he shifted his base to Bombay where he served as a link between Bombay, Daman and Macau.

Teotonio de Souza discovered a precious private archive that has considerable information on de Faria's commercial activities - the Mhamai papers containing correspondence of the Kamat Camotim firm, a prominent Goan business concern.

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The Portuguese authorities encouraged the export of opium through Daman and Diu throughout the period when its passage via Bombay was outlawed by the British, merely imposing a re-export duty on the commodity. Daman rapidly became the focal point of the Malwa sea-borne trade, eclipsing Goa as a commercial hub for a few decades. Writing about Goa in , Cottineau de Kloguen noted that 'Daman is now not only comparatively, but really more commercial than Goa' Between and circa Daman was the economic pivot of the Portuguese colonial empire in Asia.

After , once Bombay had to be abandoned by opium exporters, Daman gradually emerged as the main entrepot where opium arriving from the Gujarat and Sind ports was gathered to await shipment to Macau.

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  • In Daman was opened to Portuguese as well as foreign ships for the opium export trade The Kachchh ports in north-western Gujarat, such as Mandvi and Lakhpat Bandar besides numerous minor coastal stations , which were still beyond the reach of the Company, and Karachi, were intermediate ports for Daman consign ments. In the early twenties Iranian opium was also brought to Daman from the port of Bushire. There were consignments from Kandahar in Afghanistan as well, 'with notice that any quantity may be supplied from that province' It is most likely that some Turkish opium too went to China via Daman The Indo-Portuguese traders were favourably placed to mobilize supplies of opium through their long-standing association with Gujarati traders.

    Celsa Pinto has underlined the multifarious nature of the existing trade between Daman and other parts of Gujarat during our period Till about , Gujarati traders primarily acted as agents of Indo-Portuguese or indigenous Bombay middlemen for procuring Malwa opium through their traditional networks. It is only gradually that the Gujarati and Rajasthani dealers learnt of the real value of the commodity and then began supplying it directly to the West Coast shippers. John Dunlop, British collector of Ahmadabad in Gujarat, remarked in ,. Until about 4 years ago the merchants of Guzerat [Gujarat] were but little acquainted with the profits, or indeed the destination of the opium which they supplied, to Bom bay, or Portugueze merchants, according to the orders they might receive and their profits were confined to the commission of Agents, or at the utmost to driving the best bargain in their power, with those persons whom only they saw in the transaction.

    The full value of this drug however soon became known, and about 4 years ago the Guzerattees [Gujaratis] began to contract directly for the delivery of opium to Pattamars or ships, wherever it might be required Daman assumed even greater significance after when the Company, following Third Anglo-Maratha War, emerged as a major territorial power in western India and attempted to enforce its ban on opium exports more extensively and rigorously.

    Simultaneously, as mentioned earlier, from onwards it began to purchase large quantities of opium directly from the Malwa market. Greenberg has estimated that in the s, when the Company was participating in the Malwa opium trade, as much as two-thirds of the drug was being exported from Daman The Company's Malwa opium had to compete with Daman Malwa opium, while Bengal opium had to compete with both.