When you walk around the streets of south Bombay, the legacy of the opium trade is all around you - even though you might not see it. During the 19th century, with the help of a war or two, trading in opium went from being illegal to a goldrush. Bombay merchants financed fleets of ships carrying opium from India to China. It was a deeply destructive trade to the Chinese but it made Bombay unbelievably rich. It paid for many of its iconic institutions - from JJ Hospital to Sassoon Docks to the Mahim causeway. In our online talk #APoppyTale Thomas Manuel takes us through the story of Bombay's Opium trade.
Please note: The event link will be shared a couple of hours before the talk
About the speaker
Thomas Manuel is a freelance writer and award-winning playwright whose work usually revolves around history, science, education, or the intersection of all three. His journalism can be found in Lapham's Quarterly, The Nib, The Wire, The Hindu, and various other outlets. In 2016, he won the Hindu Playwright Award for his play, Hamlet and Angad which is now available in a collection from Dhauli Books. His book, Opium Inc, a narrative non-fiction account of the opium trade between British India and China, was published in 2021 by Harper Collins. He currently works on India Ink, a public history project where he makes videos about how the past continues to affect us today. You can find out more through his website, thomasmanuel.com.