A committed historian, Dr. Mani Kamerkar, nee Mani FramrozVasunia, was born in an influential Parsi family on October 14, 1925. She graduated in History and Politics from Elphinstone College and started her career as Professor of History at Sathye College. In her long career, spanning over four decades, she served in diverse positions at several institutions including Nanavati College, ShreematiNathibaiDamodarThackersey (SNDT) Women’s College of Mumbai, Agnes Scott College and at Carleton College. Alongside, she was also connected with several other academic bodies at the local, regional and international levels. Her academic work on the social and political history of western India, particularly Gujarat, show a profound influence of the independence and trade union movements witnessed in her childhood. A recognized Ph.D guide, an avid researcher and a prolific writer she authored several authoritative books and articles, especially on the colonial period and the Parsis.

Memorial Trust: After her death on October 11, 2004 an eponymous trust was established by some of her friends, colleagues, students and family as a tribute to her seminal contribution to the field of history. In order to encourage research in this field the Trust not only sponsors seminars in Mumbai colleges annually, but also prize money for the best research papers. LJNJ MahilaMahavidyalaya, Vile Parle had the honour of organising the first in the series of this prestigious seminar. The trend continues till date.

The two day National Seminar on “Complex Narratives: Exploring Indian Business History From   Ancient To Modern Times”will be held on 20th and 21st September, 2019 at H R College of Commerce and economics, Churchgate, Mumbai.

The sub-themes are merely indicative of the nature of the main theme. These lists are not exhaustive. Papers, therefore, need not be limited to the subjects mentioned under each theme. A brief description of each sub-theme has been provided only to clarify its scope.


Trade and business have existed since ancient times, throughout recorded human history. Barter system seems to have been the predominant feature of this period. The Harappans and Mesopotamians were noted for their trade relations. The appearance of towns as significant part of business organization and collective merchant bodies Shrenis, and Fairs as a characteristic trading institution, began to play an important part in business.

Papers related to this period could delve into some of the following areas-

  • Sources of business history
  • Evolution of mercantile structure in India
  • Fairs, Bazaars, haats
  • Indian diaspora and trade in ancient and medieval times
  • Local, national and international trade
  • Piracy

Renaissance and Reformation had a striking impact on the intellectual, social-political and industrial life of Europe. Growth of geographical knowledge, maritime explorations and better means of navigation from the beginning of the fifteenth century culminated in the emergence of international trading entities such as the British and the Dutch East India companies. These brought about far reaching changes in the world of business and commerce.

Papers in this section could look at the following:

  • Growth of geographical knowledge
  • Business and trade routes
  • Improvement in the means and methods of navigation
    • Maritime and shipping business enterprises in the Indian Ocean
  • Labour issues and migration.

According to some business historians there existed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, associations of merchants representing different trades in many cities. In Gujarat these were known as Mahajans. These creditworthy merchants contributed to the rise of an extensive network of ‘hundis’ for transferring funds throughout the land. On the other hand Max Weber posited that the Hindu view of life with its other worldly focus, impacted business development adversely. Therefore it is important to understand the kind of business environment prevailed in India in this period.

Papers in this part can investigate the following and more:

  • Banking and business
  • History of money and banking
  • Legal systems in aid of business –guilds, law and regulations
  • Regional business

Improvement in the material environment with the advent of the British, technological developments and steam power revolutionized the face of production and thereby business starting from the 18th century. Improved railroads, roadways and waterways from the nineteenth century onwards shortened distances among regions. These combined with the rising tide of national spirit resulted in far reaching developments in the business world. What were these? Did the modern system of education bring about any changes in the business firmament?

Papers in this section can contemplate the following themes-

  • Histories of foreign firms in India/ overseas business
  • Merchant communities
  • The modern State and business
  • Industrial revolution
  • Technological innovation
  • Rise of corporate capitalism in the Industrial Era and implications
  • Railways, shipping; automobiles
  • Nationalism and business history
  • Business centres in the country
  • Liberal education and business
  • Business and the Cold War
  • Panics and depressions

Any discussion on business history would be incomplete without reference to labour, one of the most active ingredients of production processes. Labour movements emerged in the West during industrialization in the nineteenth century. These movements asked for better wages, working conditions and treatment from their employers and government via implementation of labour laws. The movement itself consists of trade unions, political parties that exist to represent workers and various political organisations of a socialist, syndicalist, anarchist or Marxist outlook. In India the labour movement started with the setting up of textile and jute mills and laying of railways in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Presenters in this area can probe:

  • The emergence of organized labor
  • Mill workers
  • Labour leaders
  • Trade Unionism and communism
  • socialist thinkers
  • Labour and gender relations

The history of commodities is a popular field of research. Commodities rarely respect traditional, political or national boundaries. Since such history traces the derivation of a commodity from its agricultural, biological, geological or industrial origins through its production, distribution and consumption, it involves thinking at the global, local as well as socio-economic level. A study of this nature also highlights the human connections behind the making, selling and consuming of many common commodities of day today use and technologies as well as their cultural impact on human beings in time and space.

Papers in this segment can explore the life cycle of the following or any other commodity.

  • Commodities of everyday life
  • Jute, coal, cotton, pearls, sugar, paper, chemicals, planting, manufacturing, oil companies, food and cloth, sanitary ware.
  • Selling and social impact
  • Resource procurement and mobilization
  • Cultural impact.

Entrepreneurship means individuals acting in their private capacities. Entrepreneurs have been able to shape not only their own destinies but those of their nations. Entrepreneurial organisations have pursued resources and markets across borders ranging from opium trading and luxury watches to fashion, beauty, shipping, finance and information and communications technologies. In the Indian context, colonialism contributed largely in shaping entrepreneurship. For example, the small Marwari community, originally from the Marwar region of Rajasthan played a stellar role in creating many of India’s leading business houses, including the Bajaj. Which other communities were similarly impacted? Which British policies drove this entrepreneurship? This section examines the role of entrepreneurship; its impact on wealth creation, upward mobility and technological change as well as the negative consequences of unchecked individualism for society.

Paper presenters can work around the following themes.

  • Histories of firms, Communities, personalities in business
  • Destructive and productive entrepreneurship
  • “Managing/management agency” system
  • Entrepreneurship- Families, Migrants and Gender
  • Business groups- and their roles as cultural agents
  • Indian and British entrepreneurs in nineteenth and twentieth century/ syndicates/consortiums
  • Fashion industry

The Swadeshi movement was a subset of the Indian National Movement and was officially proclaimed in 1905. It resulted in the setting up of swadeshi textile mills, soap and match factories, tanneries, banks, insurance companies, shops etc. The ‘Make in India’ movement of contemporary India echoes the demand of Swadeshi, but in a new context.

Papers in this section may consider the following:

  • Strategies of the Movement
  • Architects of the Movement
  • Swadeshi Movement in post-independence India

Policy liberalization after 1991 created new opportunities in the field of business the hallmarks of were foreign direct investments, technological change, varieties of business systems and cultures, new forms of competition, new emerging market businesses and new patterns of trade. This section seeks to analyse the role of multinationals and the unique socio-economic, political and cultural challenges they face in the new business horizon. In this context it also tries to assess the position of new global players such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Papers in this section can dwell on:

  • Impact of globalization
  • History of emerging markets
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • The business of insurance
  • Business and technology
  • Biotechnology
  • Sustainability and green business
  • Emerging economies and the BRICS
  • Role of private sector in banking
  • Policy changes and business
  • Changing role of the State
  • Media moghuls

Another emerging business that has caught the imagination of the young and old alike is that of tourism and its allied activities. Though tourism is an old phenomenon, its scope has expanded proportionally to the increase of people’s leisure time and travel facilities. Tourism and travel provide big business and contribute significantly to infrastructural and other forms of economic development in any country. At the same time, though invisible to the eye of the tourist, it can leave behind a trail of pollution and waste.

Some areas that can be searched in this part are:

  • Development of the Hotel industry
  • Business of tourism in colonial India
  • Tourism and the business of transportation
  • Environmental impacts of tourism
  • Medical tourism



During the first half of the twentieth century, successful companies began focusing on improving their internal processes by attempting to increase the efficiency quotient of their managerial and production operations.  This led to the rise of a new discipline viz management. Management and business became inextricably linked hereafter. What were the new techniques of managing business and how have they changed over a period of time? What was the concept of efficiency all about? What about management education in India? Is there scope for research in management education? These are few of the pertinent questions that can be posed in this context.

Research papers in this segment can study:

  • Evolution of management education
  • Developing a doctoral track in business history
  • Strategies for promotion of business history
  • Corporate social responsibility,
  • Corporatocracy in contemporary India

Various Indian business firms and houses have contributed to social change, influenced culture, participated in weaving India’s cultural fabric and helped to preserve and promote India’s vibrant and dynamic culture, art and literature.

  • Corporate commitment/ engagement with culture
  • Cultural funding by business houses
  • In-house Magazines
  • Culture labs, Theatres, programmes among other.
  • Modern India
  • Markets for Processed Food
  • Modern Advertising
  • Development of the Department Store/ Malls in India
  • Soulless Corporations?
  • The Indian Consumer Society
  • Branding and Marketing- the twin souls of business
  • Corporate Law
  • Business, Government, and War
  • Business and New Media
  • Our own Silicon Valley

For Abstract:

Each proposal should include title of the relevant theme, an abstract of 500 words and brief curriculum vitae (CV) of the participant in 150 words.

The deadline for the receipt of abstract is now extended to July15th, 2019.

Abstracts must be mailed to [email protected]

Speakers will be notified by July 31st, 2019

For paper:

Papers should be in MS Word with Times New Roman Font, 12 Point Size, 1.5 Line Spacing on A4 paper with 2.54 cm margins on all sides following latest MLA style with 2500 to 3000 word limit.

Medium: English, Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati

Last date of registration of full paper: August 20, 2019.

The papers should be sent to: [email protected]

Papers will be published as seminar proceedings with ISBN.

(Includes meals & stationery kit for both the days)

Teachers and Researchers: Rs.1000/-

Students: Rs. 500/-

Payments should be made in Cash/DD/Cheque.

DD or Cheque should be drawn infavour of ‘H.R. College of Commerce & Economics’.

Registration Form: Click Here 

Dr.Madhu Kelkar: +91 98216 95912

Dr. Priyamvada A Sawant: +91 98212 23369

Email: [email protected]


HassaramRijhumal (HR) College of Commerce and Economics,

Vidyasagar Principal K M KundananiChowk, 123, DinshawWachha Road,

Churchgate, Mumbai 400 020.