Along the Indian ocean, much of the trade was done by corporatized merchant guilds. Such organizations created under contract, are called Samaya in inscriptions. One of the largest Guilds, called “The Five Hundred”, was established in Aihole, Karnataka and soon become a multinational corporation. Another guild, called Manigramam, was from Tamil country and is mentioned in Nandi Varman’s inscriptions in Thailand.
Code of Conduct
A code of conduct called “Banju-Dharma” governed such organizations. Membership was based on economic interest and often cut across caste divisions – for instance, The Five Hundred was founded by Karnataka Brahmins but would later be dominated by Tamil Chettiars. Moreover, the supply chains depended on contracts between different guilds. Thus, the weavers guild would contract with the merchant’s guilds to supply a certain amount of cloth for export.