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The Extraordinary life of Jagat Seth: The Banker Who Gave Loans To East India Company And The Mughal Royalty.

Jagat Seth
Jagat Seth Credits:- Men Xp

In this article, we are going to talk about Jagat Seth, and how they rose to power? and what caused their downfall?

The pre-British raj India has been known to house various treasures.

Various Hindu kings built massive structures spending a fortune on their construction just to display their power.

India controlled most of the trade in spices and finished goods during that period.

India was so rich it was also called “Sone Ki Chiriya” (Golden Bird) because of its enormous wealth.

Its wealth and power are the main cause why India had to face so many invasions in its history.

Some ultra-wealthy men would make the richest men alive seem like peasants.

One such person was Jagat Seth of Murshidabad, well known as Seth Fatehchand.

Who was Jagat Seth?

 Jagat Seth’s title was given to Fateh Chand by the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah in 1723. After that, the entire family of Fateh Chand came to be known as Jagat Seth Family.

Jagat Seth

Jagat Seth
Credits:- Men Xp

 Jagat Seth means the “Banker of the World”, a very rich banker in Bengal in the first half of the 18th century. 

It is estimated that the total wealth of the house of Jagat Seth at this time was around Rs. 14 crores which in contemporary terms could mean anything between Rs. 4,000 and 10,000 crore

Jagat Seth intuitively knew, 300 years ago, what many modern businessmen do not seem to even today: that dialogue and policy support are important for business.

His political alliance with the Mughals and rulers of Bengal ensured that Bengal remained one of the richest provinces in the country. 

Jagat Seth

Jagat Seth and his family
Credits:-India Times

The Rise of Manikchand (Jagat Seth) 

Manikchand was born in the seventeenth century, to Hiranand Sahu, a Marwari Jain from Nagaur in Rajasthan belonging to the Gailarha gotra. 

Hiranand migrated to Bihar in the mid-seventeenth century in search of better prospects.

Where Hiranand started a business of saltpetre, an essential ingredient for making gunpowder. 

The usability of the substance and constant wars in Europe made this business quite stable and profitable.

Hiranand also had lent considerable sums to the English East India Company, which had just set up a factory there. 

Manikchand took up the business from where his father had left off and expanded it in many directions.

One of the major areas of expansion was money lending.

The Mughal class of the time needed a lot of money for a variety of tasks: quite apart from personal needs, money was critical to grease the wheels of government. 

In the course of expanding his business from Patna to Dhaka, Manikchand struck up a friendship with the newly appointed Diwan of Bengal who would be known later in history as Murshid Quli Khan. 

The friendship was to last throughout the lives of both men and would have a considerable impact on both lives.

In the past, there had been far too many slippages in the revenue estimation and collection within the Mughal empire 

In his task of improving the revenues of Bengal, Murshid Quli Khan much appreciated the help and advice that Seth Manikchand provided. 

Jagat Seth

Murshid Quli Khan
Credits:- Zee News

This work made him extremely politically connected to the nobility which in turn helped him to prosper in his business.

How Did Jagath Seth Die? 

After the Battle of Plassey, Mir Jafar became the new Nawab. He organised the killing of several members of the family including Jagat Seth, Mehtab Chand and his cousin Swarup Chand, in 1763, and threw their bodies off the ramparts of Munger Fort.

After this tragic event, the family went into a downfall and like Mughals, their descendants are not known. 

Jagat Seth’s house little away from Hazarduari place is the house of Jagat Seth now converted to a museum.

Credits:- India Times and The Print.

Featured Image Credits:- MenXP

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