Thursday 26 December 2013



The Bengali nationalist Prafulla Chandra Ray's autobiography (1932) is a well-known text documenting a modern Bengali ambivalence about the Marwaris. Ray unfavorably compared the more fiscally conservative Marwaris with the urban Bengali gentry. The former, Ray argued, earned a thousand times more than they actually spent; unlike the anglicized Bengal Zemindars, the Marwaris were "mere parasites" who "do
not add a single farthing to the country's wealth, but have become the chosen instruments for the draining away of the country's wealth—the lifeblood of the peasants—to foreign lands." Despite his stated admiration for the Marwari penchant for hard work and business aptitude, Ray criticized Marwaris for not reinvesting their wealth back into the Bengal economy.

Even the Marwari diet, argued Ray, contributed to the economic drain. The Marwaris "survived" on dal, ghee, and wheat flour‚‚all items imported from outside Bengal. He wrote: "Whatever they spend finds its way back into their own pockets. Hence the Marwari or the Bhatia or the Punjabi, although they make their money and live in Calcutta, seldom add any wealth to Bengal nor is Bengal in any way materially benefited by their being residents of Bengal. They might as well have been residents of Kamchkatka or Timbuctoo."

PC Ray's comment about siphoning of Bengals wealth might have been relevant in the pre-independece era when India as a country did not come into being as a Sovereign country or due to over-romanticizing of a nationalist Bengali vouching for its region. However the community led government in Bengal couldn't do any better while in power post-independence. He would have been rather distraught after his founded company 'Bengal Chemicals' became un-manageable after his death and had to be nationalized by the Indian Govt.

Even the former Prime Minister of India JN Nehru commented in a rather helpless tone "Giving the drawbacks of the Marwari community and their ingenious practices they are still keep the money within the country and want their ashes to be immersed in the Ganga"

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