“Marwari” stands for people hailing from a region in western India known as Marwar. In common parlance, the term refers to merchants and bankers from this region speaking the language spoken there and living elsewhere. Marwaris left this region and resettled in other parts of India and abroad from at least the eighteenth century. The article explores the Marwari diaspora. Although many Marwaris engaged in trade, banking, and occasionally manufacture, the group was socially and occupationally diverse. After liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s, some Marwari individuals have made successful use of new investment opportunities from a business base that had been created before the economy opened up, but, overall, the group has experienced the same pattern of “creative destruction” as have other business communities. In small towns, Marwaris have almost seamlessly assimilated with local society. In big business, the companies they own define the character of the business more than ethnic identity.
Peter C. Perdue
The American scholar, traveler, political adviser, and public intellectual Owen Lattimore strongly shaped American public opinion toward China and Central Eurasia in the twentieth century, but he also wrote major works on the geography and environment of the frontiers of Asia that still influence global historians today. His writings asserted the vital importance of China’s relationship with the nomads of the steppe, including the Mongols, for defining the boundaries, cultures, and geopolitical strategy of empires and nation states. He argued for sophisticated explanations of relationships between environmental forces like climate and human culture, and he analyzed China and Central Eurasia so as to provide new perspectives on world history. This article evaluates Lattimore’s contributions to world history in the light of his dynamic political and academic life.