ABSTRACT

The seventeenth century was a landmark in India’s commercial history. The establishment of a uniform political system over Indian territory extending from Kabul to the Bay of Bengal and from Kashmir to the Narmada by Akbar ensured security of life and property and thus created favourable conditions for the development of long distance overland intra-Indian trade. Hence, as compared to preceding centuries, the movement of traders and goods between different parts of the country considerably increased. Thus Gujarati Jain traders in the reign of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb could be found in the far-off Lahore 1 and the Punjabi Kshatris could be found as far as Bengal and Gujarat. The Deccan plateau was also visited by traders from other parts of India. 2 Such visits underlined the fact that whenever these traders found business unremunerative at a particular place for any reason or due to a combination of circumstances, they would not hesitate to shift their activities to distant parts of the country where they could hope for better profits and congenial environment. An important example of the movement of business community is provided by the migration of the Jains to Bihar in the seventeenth century. Needless to say, the emergence of the Jains in the markets of Bihar is a fine testimony to their-entrepreneurship, ability to stick to profession in spite of difficulties.