October 2022

6:00 PM IST

Online Via Zoom


The Hundred Horizons of One Merchant: Mohammed Salem Al-Sudairawi and the Histories of Arab Bombay

Indian Ocean and Beyond: Outward Bound From Gujarat

Fahad Ahmad Bishara

Associate Professor of History
University of Virginia

How might we write the histories of capitalism in the Western Indian Ocean? I explore this question through the life and times of Muhammad Salem Al-Sudairawi, a Kuwaiti merchant and banker in interwar Bombay. Through Al-Sudairawi, I explore the circulations of financial paper and Muslim legal thinking that made their way around the Indian Ocean, and weave into them the faulty circuits of law, colonial finance, and jurisdiction that bridged together the Indian Ocean arena. By thinking with the biography of Al-Sudairawi, I tell an entangled history of “vernacular” and “colonial” capitalism in Bombay.


Fahad Ahmad Bishara

Fahad Ahmad Bishara is Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1950 (2017) and is currently at work on a history of the dhow trade between the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, anchored in the voyages of a Kuwaiti dhow captain in the early 1920s.