Thursday, November 26, 2009

Post-Hindu India

"Gandhi was one of the most popular and important moral philosophers that the Baniya community of India produced. Against their Baniya ethic of conducting a lie-based guptadhana business, he talked about 'truth' becoming the process of life. As against their wasteful expensive life, he preached simplicity. Borrowing from the Jain Vardhamana Mahavira, he lived in an ashram, wearing only loin-cloth and talked about eating simple food… He has come to be known as the father of the Indian nation. Yet the Baniyas of India, true to their historical nature, did not own him. Why?"

"If you visit any Baniya house in India, you will discover that Gandhi's photograph does not hang from their walls. Even in Gujarat, where he was born and brought up, Gandhi's photo is not a household symbol of heritage. He is not their revered hero as Ambedkar is the revered hero of the Dalits of India. The Baniyas did not adopt Gandhi as their hero because Gandhi stood for frugality. They worship gods like Ganapati and Kubera because both the gods stand for accumulation of wealth and gluttony. As opposed to Gandhi's frugal eating habits, the Baniyas of India are known for the heavy consumption of rich vegetarian and sweet food products… Their day-to-day lifestyles in terms of the places of residence, use of ornaments of gold and silver, clothes, cars and other movable and immovable properties point to the fact that they are totally anti-Gandhian. Having come from this caste, Gandhi talked about loving people of all castes, but in their day-to-day life many Baniyas hate people of all other castes, even after 60 years of Gandhi's death."

(Kancha Ilaiah in 'Post-Hindu India: A discourse on Dalit-Bahujan, socio-spiritual and scientific revolution,' p. 177 Sage)

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