The Desert Capitalists - Part One

The Desert Capitalists - Part One


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A camel and people against the sunset in the desert
  • More from this series

    • Part One
      The Marwari trading cast's journey from the desert to building their global empire.
    • Part Two
      How are the Marwari traders managing as India goes global?

Mukul Devichand finds out how the Marwari trading caste from India's western deserts has become a pre-eminent global economic and political force - from Bombay to Paris to London.

When Lakshmi Mittal, Britain's richest man, acquired Arcelor steel and sent shivers down the spine of France's ruling class, it was only the latest chapter in the onward march of his tiny community.

Today, Marwaris make up a phenomenally successful business community with influence on governments from India's Bharatiya Janata Party to New Labour in the UK.

Prominent Marwari families include the Birlas - whose multinational firm operates in 20 countries - and the Bajaj Autos dynasty.

The ancestors of today's business executives left their dusty Rajasthan desert homeland 300 years ago to sell paper and cloth on market stalls in Calcutta.

Granted exclusive access to prominent Marwari families, Mukul explores their journey and looks into the vast global business empires of the secretive Marwari trading diaspora.

In part one, we find out who is behind the Indian companies that are flexing their muscles globally.

First broadcast on 08 September 2008

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