When Prof. Kancha described Bania capitalism in India as social smuggling, the Banias in South threatened with violence and death threats. He had to undergo self-imposed house arrest. The word he used to describe them to express the Bania capitalism as “social smuggling”, and it seems to be a right metaphor for what has been happening in Indian economy.
It is now well documented how the Banias took advantage of the rising tide of capitalism and the advent of the British Raj in India. The Bania merchants were in fact forefront in creating neo-Hinduism through their wide financial support and some of them even gave their lives (for example, Gandhi) to save Hinduism and its heinous caste system. The Kshatriyas (the landholders) lost their power and privileges when the commercialisation of land began. When the capitalism started becoming the ideology, the aristocracy lost its power and it shifted to the merchants as they could earn huge profits by trading.
In case of India, a similar thing happened. The landholding castes, mainly farmers, lost a lot of their power, as the Banias started taking their profession to next level by their commercial activities. The commercial activities and success of Bania capitalism are based on the caste system.
The “upper castes” in India are not only stealing the privileges of the “lower castes” from the time immemorial, but the process of theft continues even till date. The Dalit Adivasi Jeevan Jyoti Foundation which is based in Noida has filed a complaint on “upper caste” taking fake caste certificates and cornering the reserved seats. The National Commission of Scheduled Caste (NCSC) found that there is a theft of the privileges. There are thousands of cases of such thefts throughout India. And guess, which state is leading the thefts of the caste certificates? Maharashtra!!
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale