Business Standard

'If history is not backed by evidence, mythology emerges'


Press Trust of India Kolkata
History needs to be backed by evidence or else mythology might emerge, Tirthankar Roy, Professor of Economic History, London School of Economics, said here today.
Speaking at a session on 'Rich Business Heritage of Kolkata', organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here, Roy said that most of the sources of business history related to Kolkata are stored in the United Kingdom.
He also said that the business history of Kolkata have fallen silent after 1950, which needs to be researched.
"If history is not backed by evidence, mythology might emerge," Dr Roy said asserting that business historian would help in showcasing Kolkata and its heritage which could aid further investments in the city.
Talking about sources of business history, Dr Michael Aldous, Lecturer in Management, Queen"s University, Belfast, laid importance on written correspondence, legal documents and market-based data.
According to him, written documents help to understand not only the business of the firm but also about decisions made by the company.
He stated that market-based data is important to learn about the challenges of the industry. Legal documents, he claimed, had helped in understanding the working of the courts and legal system.
Managing agency system, he said, had been one of the innovation to tackle the problem of large holding companies having large share of business away from the headquarters.
Geoffrey Jones, Isidor Straus Professor of Business History, Harvard Business School, cited that learning from the past is vital to business leaders.
He suggested that business leaders should learn from history and their roles in politics.
He also stressed on the importance of memoirs of people to understand why something has worked while others have failed.
Deepthi Sasidharan, Director Eka Archiving Service, Former Chief Archivist at the Tata Central Archives discussed about the need for archiving historical documents.

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First Published: Apr 28 2018 | 11:10 PM IST

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