Premchand Roychand

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Premchand Roychand was a 19th-century Indian businessman known as the "Cotton King" and "Bullion King".

Born in 1831 he was the son of Roychand Dipchand, a merchant from Surat. The Roychand family moved to Bombay when Premchand was a young boy. Recorded as the first Indian broker able to speak, read and write English, he entered the lists as a stock broker in 1849. Apart from the capital markets, Premchand Roychand had significant business interests in the cotton and bullion trades along with the stock market. He was the founding member of The Bombay Stock Exchange

He reaped enormous profits from the cotton boom that changed Bombay's economy for all time. As founder of the Bank of Bombay, people flocked to his Mazgaon mansion when it was illuminated on festive occasions.

The Rajabai Clock Tower in the University of Bombay, named after his mother, was built from a donation of Indian Rupees 2,00,000 by him, as was the library.

He lost all his money in the Backbay reclamation scheme, and other equally ill-advised ventures. However, he managed to rebuild his fortune, though on a more modest scale.

He once made a single pay-in of Rs 11.5 crore, which would equal Rs 1,000 crore today (as of 2008)! Such single-day transactions by a lone broker are unheard of even in stock markets today.


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