The managing agency system has been the dominant form of business organization in India for over a century, yet no one has described the circumstances surrounding its first emergence. It is not difficult to understand why an aura of mystery enshrouds the early years of the system. Students of managing agency invariably have been economists. Although they feel obliged to make some reference to its historical origins, they neglect the sources where the evidence abounds. A typical statement from a recent official Indian study of managing agency reads:

Little is known about the early twilight zone of the history of our industrial development in which the managing agency system and the joint stock companies played a great part.

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