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Brahmin-Bania hegemony in India

Friday April 28, 2017 8:30 PM , Mohammad Ashraf

Who runs India

Sometimes one wonders how such a large country is run and who really runs it? Arundhati Roy calls India, “An Upper Caste Hindu Corporate Republic”! One would have thought that she may have been saying this in anger but an examination of various economic and political organisations reveals that she is 100% right. This has been already done in detail by Aakar Patel. The live mint, an e-paper of the Hindustan Times group carries an article in its April 8, 2017 edition by Aakar Patel titled “When will the Brahmin-Bania hegemony end?” The article which was first published in 2009 gives a detailed picture of the people who are really running India.It would be interesting to quote the facts given by Aakar Patel. According to him, India is run by Brahmins and Banias only. Brahmins, Banias and Jains altogether constitute less than 6% of the population.

Aakar Patel states thatat the time of independence, India was politically run by a Brahmin (Jawaharlal Nehru) whose mentor was a Bania (Mahatma Gandhi). The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was a Brahmin (Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant), the first chief minister of Gujarat was a Bania (Jivraj Mehta). Madhya Pradesh was run by a Brahmin (Ravi Shankar Shukla), Rajasthan was run by a Brahmin (H.L. Shastri), Kerala was run by a Brahmin (E.M.S. Namboodiripad), Punjab was run by a Brahmin (G.C. Bhargava) and Assam was ruled by a Brahmin (G.N. Bordoloi). In 2009 when the article was first written, only one state was run by a Brahmin that was West Bengal run by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Incidentally, Shudras who are wrongly construed to mean untouchables are in reality peasants (Patels) and constitute more than 50% of the population.

In 2009, most of the states were politically under the control of Shudras. Andhra Pradesh was run by a peasant Christian (Y.S.R. Reddy), Bihar was run by a peasant Kurmi (Nitish Kumar) and Gujarat was run by a peasant from the Teli/Ghanchi caste (Narendra Modi). Haryana was run by a peasant Jat (Bhupinder Hooda), Karnataka was ruled by a peasant Lingayat (B.S. Yeddyurappa), Kerala was run by a peasant Ezhava (V.S. Achuthanandan) and Madhya Pradesh was run by a peasant OBC (Shivraj Chouhan). Maharashtra was run by a peasant Maratha (Ashok Chavan), Rajasthan was run by a peasant Mali (Ashok Gehlot), Punjab was run by a peasant Jat (Parkash Badal), Tamil Nadu was run by a peasant Vellalar (M. Karunanidhi) and Uttar Pradesh was run by a Dalit (Mayawati).Even though, the Shudras mostly control politics but the backbone of the country, the economy is now fully controlled by Brahmins and Banias. Regarding the hold of Brahmins and Banias on economy, it would be interesting to again quote Aakar Patel.

“The Sensex comprises the 30 largest traded companies of India.ACC is run by a Brahmin (Sumit Banerjee), Bhel is run by a Brahmin (Ravi Kumar Krishna Swamy), Bharti Airtel is run by a Bania (Sunil Mittal), Grasim and Hindalco are run by a Bania (Kumar Mangalam Birla). HDFC is run by a Bania (Deepak Parekh), Hindustan Unilever is run by a Brahmin (Nitin Paranjpe), ICICI Bank is headed by a Brahmin (K.V. Kamath). Jaiprakash Associates is run by a Brahmin (Yogesh Gaur), L&T is run by a Brahmin (A.M. Naik), NTPC is run by a Brahmin (R.S. Sharma), ONGC is run by a Brahmin (also called R.S. Sharma). Reliance group firms are run by Banias (Mukesh and Anil Ambani), State Bank of India is run by a Brahmin (O.P. Bhatt), Sterlite Industries is run by a Bania (Anil Agarwal), Sun Pharma is run by a Bania (Dilip Shanghvi) and Tata Steel is run by a Brahmin (B. Muthuraman). “Punjab National Bank is run by a Brahmin (K.C. Chakrabarty), Bank of Baroda is run by a Brahmin (M.D. Mallya) and Canara Bank is run by a Bania (A.C. Mahajan)”. “Of India’s software companies, Infosys is run by a Brahmin (Kris Gopalakrishnan now and Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani before him). TCS is run by a Brahmin (Subramanian Ramadorai). Wipro is owned by a Khoja (Azim Premji). Khojas are Shia of the Sevener sect, converted from the Luhana trading community (same caste as L.K. Advani and M.A. Jinnah)”. “India’s two largest airlines are Kingfisher, owned by a Brahmin (Vijay Mallya) and Jet, owned by a Bania (Naresh Goyal)”. “Of India’s mobile phone firms, Reliance Communications (Ambani), Airtel (Mittal), Vodafone Essar (Ruia), Idea (Birla), Spice (Modi) are owned by Banias. BSNL is run by a Bania (Kuldeep Goyal) and Tata’s TTML is run by a Brahmin (K.A. Chaukar)”. “Cricket in India is run by a Bania (Lalit Modi) and before him it was run by another Bania (Jagmohan Dalmiya)”.

“Of India’s steel companies Essar is owned by Banias (Ruia), ArcelorMittal is owned by a Bania (Laxmi Mittal), Ispat is owned by Banias (Mittals), Jindal Steel is owned by Banias, Bhushan Steel is owned by Banias (Singhal), VISA Steel is owned by Banias (Agarwal). State-owned SAIL is run by a Bania (S.K. Roongta) and Lloyd Steel is owned by Banias (Gupta)”.

“Of India’s cement companies, Ambuja is owned by Banias (Neotia and Sekhsaria), Dalmia Cements is owned by Banias, Ultratech and Vikram Cement are owned by Banias (Birla) and JK Cement is owned by Banias (Singhania).Hindustan Motors is owned by Banias (Birla) and Bajaj Auto is owned by Banias”.

“Media in India is almost entirely controlled by Banias and Jains. Of the two largest English newspapers, The Times of India is owned by Jains and the Hindustan Times is owned by Banias (Birla). The third largest English paper, The Hindu, is owned by Brahmins (Kasturi Iyengar family). The Indian Express is owned by Banias (Goenka). Zee TV is owned by a Bania (Subhash Chandra Goel). Of the two largest Hindi newspapers, Dainik Jagran is owned by Banias (Gupta), and Dainik Bhaskar is owned by Banias (Agarwal). The Agarwals also own Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar. The largest Gujarati newspaper Gujarat Samachar is owned by Jains (Shah). The largest Marathi paper Lokmat is owned by Jains (Darda). Rajasthan Patrika is owned by Jains (Kothari). Navbharat Times is owned by Jains and Hindustan owned by Banias (Birla). Amar Ujala is owned by Banias (Maheshwari)”.

“Old economy, new economy: All economy in India is owned and run by two castes. The Brahmin used his monopoly on knowledge and the Bania used his high-trust culture of trade to become dominant. Their skills are world-class. Given the realities of capital formation, it is difficult for other castes to catch up soon”.

How is such a minuscule minority running such a huge country of the millions of poor without any massive rebellion from them? Interestingly, the present trend of heightened Hindutva using religion to declare India a Hindu Rashtra givesthe clue. Here the saying of Karl Marx that “the Religion is the Opium of the poor” fits appropriately! It is being practically used by the rich in India to keep the teeming millions of the poor down under! But one wonders how long can this deception last? One day the poor will definitely reclaim their rights. Incidentally, that trend has already started!

[Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir. The article is first published by]

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