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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Personal greed, ambition for power, and outward religious practices

Part - 7: Conclusion ...
Thus, it appears that the Jagat Seths and the Aminchands were products of serious degeneration of social values; the observation is unfortunately, not limited to the Marwaris or Jains alone.  It pervaded across communities of Hindu India, and it continues to pervade now.  At some point, inordinate amount of importance started being placed in connection with accumulation of individual wealth, and political influence, regardless of how the wealth and influence were procured.  This is a perfect recipe for the success of a colonial regime, because a colonial regime would reward the individuals who ally with them.  Thus the collaborators and their successors would easily acquire wealth and influence.  Since the society continued to value just those criteria, in addition to personal greed and ambition for power, there was added social incentive to collaborate with the invaders.  In addition, observance of outward religious practices and adoption of religious symbolisms started taking precedence over the innate values that constitute the essence of religion.  We narrate a few pointers in support of our assessment.  
In the 19thcentury, Prince Dwarakanath Tagore became the crème de la crème of the Bengali society.  His only accomplishments were that he was wealthy and well connected to the colonial regime, notwithstanding the fact that he was direct participant in inflicting the Indigo famines, which wiped out a substantial section of the populace in Bengal and Bihar.  Then, in 1925, the Birla family was ostracised by the Maheshwari Marwari community, because they had accepted a match with a bride (a Maheshwari) of the United Provinces, and not of the region Birlas hailed from p. 3, [23].  They were, however, never ostracised, but rather celebrated, for their close social, political and economic collaboration with the genocidal colonial regime of the time, the British. 
The rot continues into the modern times.  An eminent scholar, Ramesh Chandra Majumdar (who should be celebrated for his scholarship, notwithstanding the observation next) described, in the middle of the twentieth century, the Jagat Seths as `respectable Hindus’ p. 146, [5].  Further comments are redundant.  Sikh Khatri Sardar Bahadur Sir Sobha Singh, OBE, father of eminent author, Khushwant Singh, and a close friend of another eminent journalist, Tavleen Singh, testified against Bhagat Singh (a fellow Sikh), Sukhdev and Rajguru, thereby contributing to the deaths of these martyrs.  Subsequently, Sardar Bahadur Sir Sobha Singh, OBE, received many rewards from the British, and lucrative contracts to build many Lutyens buildings, including Rashtrapathi Bhavan.  His social, economic, and political prospects only strengthened subsequent to the transfer of power.  He also built a house specially commissioned by Sir Padampat Singhania, a fact that Sir Singhania’s sons have boasted about in a book p. 77, [17].  
Fast forward to 2005.  On 3 February 2005 , the vice president of India, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, released a postage stamp to commemorate the Centenary of Sir Padampat Singhania. p. 163, [17].  It was Sir Padampat Singhania who, along with Sir Jwaalaprasad Srivastava and Ram Ratan Gupta, who generously funded the Muslim League for at least a decade prior to the Partition p. 171, [22].  Incidentally, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was an eminent leader of the nationalist BJP, whereas Sir Jwaalaprasad Srivastava and Sir Padampat Singhania were close to Jawaharlal Nehru.  The last in our list would be the book by DH Taknet, whose foreword and introduction have been written by Prof. Arvind Panagriya, Chairman of NITI Aayog, appointed by BJP and Ms. Nirmala Sitaraman, Minister of Commerce (BJP). The book records the associations of eminent Marwari businessmen with despotic Muslim rulers like Suleiman Karrani, Prince Shuja, and Nizam of Hyderabad, as also collaborators like Man Singh. The book prominently highlights the above associations as examples of the achievements of the Marwari community.  It also gives a glowing profile of the Jagat Seths; it does, however, omit the insignificant detail as to his role that ushered in the British rule  p. 468, [1].
References
[1] DK Taknet, ``The Marwari Heritage’’
[2] Scott C. Levi, ``The Indian Diaspora in Central Asia and its Trade’’
[3] Irfan Habib, ``The Agrarian System of Mughal India’’
[4] Tapan Roychowdhury, ``The Reigns of Akbar and Jahangir in Bengal’’
[5]  RC Majumdar, ``History of Medieval Bengal’’
[6] Jadunath Sarkar, ``History of Bengal’’, Vol. 2.
[7] RC Majumdar, ``History and Culture of the Indian People’’, Vol. 7
[8] Sita Ram Goel, ``Hindu Temples of India – What happened to them?’’ Vol. 2, https://goo.gl/jSKDjX
[9] Satish Chandra, ``From the Sultanat to the Mughals’’, Part 2, https://goo.gl/77i42F
[10] Timberg, ``Marwaris: From Jagat Seth to Birla’’
[11] JH Little, ``The House of Jagat Seth’’
[12] BR Nanda, ``Life and Times of Jamnalal Bajaj’’
https://www.myind.net/Home/viewArticle/the-exploitation-of-commons-through-islamist-indic-mercantile-collusion-in-bengal

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