Back to the future
Publisher : TAER India

About the Book

This book is the first study on the antiquity of commodity trade in India. Contrary to popular belief in the industry, commodity trade in India goes back centuries. This work explores ancient Indian history and the information it provides on commodity trade, contemporary prices, market places, traders and trade routes, measurement systems, and state regulation of such trade.

The study takes into account ancient Indian literature, archaeological evidence, and inscriptions that record commodity trade and price regulation for the entire period of Indian history, particularly from the 6th century BCE onwards. This book also refers to numerous secondary sources on trade practices in ancient and early medieval India, and utilizes cartographic tools for plotting the spread of commodities and their trade in various parts of ancient and medieval India.

Praise and Reviews

Back to the Future is a pioneering contribution to India’s economic history. It is the first monograph documenting the development curve of commodity trade in India; it is the first such work to take cognizance of prehistoric, protohistoric, and historic date spreading over 7000 years; it is the first attempt to portray how India traded commodities in the long-lost past, and how this multi-millennia-rich experience can help trace the origins of quite a few of the commodity trading practices in the present times. Back to the Future is without doubt a fascinating account of the commodity trade in the Indian subcontinent from the earliest recorded times.

Dr Vijay Kelkar
Chairman, Finance Commission
Government of India/

Instead he’s co-written a linear narrative based on “archeological, literary, and inscriptional sources (circa 7000 BCE to 1800 CE)”, as the subtitle explains, plus academic discourses on the subject…. Given that commodity trading was the major business activity in the period he covers, this book is a de facto narrative of India’s economic history.
‘Trading on the past’, Business Standard dated March 17, 2010, by Kanika Datta

Commodity trade is one of the oldest trades and its history can be traced back to the roots of ancient civilisations. In the 1400s, commodities such as wheat and rice, and cotton were grown in India. During the same time, Vasco da Gama in his search for new trade routes discovered India with its rich abundance in spices and other commodities, and introduced the country to the rest of the world. A new book titled Back to the Future: roots of commodity trade in India by Jignesh Shah (founder, chairman and CEO of the Financial Technologies group) and Biswajeet Rath (Takshashila Academia of Economic Research) provides an insight on the antiquity of commodity trade in India.
‘In Brief’, Financial Express dated February 19, 2010, by FE Bureau

What distinguishes the work is the pains taken to stress the point that global commodity trade was well developed with shipping-logistics support and a system to regulate trade in ancient times…… It covers the period from 7000 BCE to 1800 CE The 143-page book does create interest in the reader to learn more about history of commodity trade and there-in lies the merit of the book co-authored by renowned historian Biswajeet Rath…… The book assumes added relevance after the science boom and the IT, biotechnology, nanotech boom that shifted world attention away from a sector which has roots in antiquity and still serves to provide employment, investment opportunities and money to several millions of people directly and indirectly all over the globe.
‘Did Kautilya write about commodity futures?’, Commodity Online dated March 05, 2010 bySreekumar Raghavan

jignesh shah
Jignesh Shah is the founder, Chariman, and CEO of the Financial Technologies Group which is a global leader in creating and operating tech-centric financial exchanges for stocks, c More...