Mr RajaMohan in his editorial column in the Indian Express dated June 29th, 2006 has come up with the following gem to comprehend India’s new found Global clout and the reactions to it within India.
The real problem lies in the emergence of two world views in India — speaking metaphorically — one of the “bania” and the other of the “brahmin”. The banias are revelling in India’s new prospects on the global stage; the brahmins are frightened at the likelihood of India emerging as a great power. While the Indian businessmen are conquering markets around the world — whether in the North or in the South — the brahmins are dying to merge into the more familiar background of the talk shop called non-aligned movement. And who better than Fidel Castro to provide the comforting certitudes of the past in Havana this September.
The brahmins are afraid of strategising for India’s new role in the world. If there is any serious strategy in India it is now visible only in the boardrooms of Infosys, Tatas and the Ambanis.
The banias have rediscovered their centuries-old trans-border trading traditions and are demonstrating the depth and breadth of India’s management capital. While the banias are focused on outcomes, such as buying up Arcelor, the armies of our nuclear experts are weighed down by the brahminical obsession with the text. While the bania is acquiring assets around the world, the brahmin is defending rhetorical positions. While the bania is playing on the front foot, the brahmin is on the defensive.
If India’s recent nuclear debate is any guide, the lag between India’s potential and its ability to take advantage of it would only grow in the coming years. But the moment will come, sooner than later, when the weight of bania pragmatism will prevail over brahminical inertia.
Indo-pessimism, an intellectual fashion that has reigned for so long, is no longer sustainable amidst the unfolding economic successes of the nation.
The problem is that he could have made his point without using caste metaphors. His own example of Infosys whose founders and top management are Brahmins makes him look like a village idiot. Continue reading