The Indian Diaspora in Central Asia and Its Trade, 1550-1900
Scott C. Levi
Based on original research in the archives of Uzbekistan, this book surveys the early modern commercial relations between India and Central Asia and examines the emergence, economic function, social organization, and decline of an Indian merchant diaspora. This diaspora consisted of tens of thousands of Indian merchant-moneylenders living in communities dispersed across Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, the Caucasus and much of Russia.
The book illustrates how these diaspora merchants utilized their position as agents of heavily capitalized, caste-based Indian family firms to finance transregional trade and complex systems of rural credit and industrial production. It concludes with an analysis of the Russian colonial administration’s policies toward the Indian merchants, and explains how these policies brought about the decline of the diaspora in Central Asia.