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SANJIV MEHTA | Indian Diaspora Club
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The revived East India Company is in a new avatar, which is a luxury goods brand. It includes luxury gift sets, teas, coffees, jams and other goods inspired by the East India Company’s history through its new e-commerce website. The site and the company’s flagship store in London were launched on Independence Day. The famous East India Company is owned by Sanjiv Mehta, 48 who was born in Mumbai. He is inviting fellow Indians to join him ad custodians of the brand through investment and helping the business so that it can grow into new areas.

World’s first multinational whose forces once dominated and ruled much of the world, the new owner said that he is overwhelmed by a huge feeling of redemption. For him, this has been a long, emotional and personal journey, which completed the process of buying the East India Company (EIC) in 2005. With a $15 million investment and inputs from a range of experts, he opened the first East India Company store in Londons’s up-market Mayfair neighbouhood in March.

The formal start of the Company is usually dates back to 1600, when Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I granted a group of merchants of London Trading into the East Indies. With its own Elizabethan coat of arms, now owned by Mehta, the Company was made responsible for bringing tea, coffee and luxury goods to the West and trading in spices across the globe. By 1757, The Company became a powerful arm of the British imperial might, with its own arm, navy, shipping fleets and currency and control over key trading posts in India, where it was known variously as Company Bahadur and John Company.  In 1874, the British government nationalized the company, opportunistically blaming the 1857 uprising on its excesses. But the Company army, under the command of the crown retained its all powerful presence in India.

When Mr. Mehta took over the Company, his main objective was to understand the history. He took a sabbatical from all other business and this became the single purpose of his life. He travelled around the world, visiting former EIC trading posts and museums, reading up records and meeting people who were familiar with the business of that time. There was a huge sense of responsibility. He didn’t want to create a brand but wanted to be as pioneering as the merchants who created it. It took him four years to do the brand positioning and put up the milestones.

He further says that India is the spirit of the East India Company in many ways as it evokes a huge amount of connectivity and emotions. One of the main aims is to bring Indian products to the rest of the world. The reputation of the Company has many dimensions. It stretches around the world, through different countries and through diverse cultures. It involves different products, materials and crafts. Its reputation and its history is a motivation to continue to make remarkable connections between different locations, cultures, skills, ingredients and point in time.