Caste and the 1,000 Families

I’ve noticed that our caste thread has once again exploded. My new policy is to simply skip over comment threads once they become negative.

I thought I would add 2 points. I’m very suspicious when white liberals “ally” in the war again caste since there is little doubt that caste was tremendously strengthened during the colonial era. I’m not arguing that it was created during the time of the Brits, the genetic data shows otherwise, but for the purposes of administrations & control, rigid lines were always drawn over the population. The Brits were not benevolent masters as so many on this blog like to believe.

I will share a little anecdote since I love stories. A senior female academic of Indian origins who was asked to speak at a conference wrote in asking as to why she was the only woman featured and why weren’t there more women. The white lady academic/administrator replied, very defensively, that “Genderism isn’t the only discrimination there’s racism, class and caste discrimination.”

As soon as I heard that snippet I realised what the white lady was trying to do; a dog-whistle. She was using caste as a way to attack the Indian academic. This is not the only story where this has happened. Another Indian female academic stopped going into a prominent college because everything she went in she was stopped by the porters (Oxbridge college have porters). This didn’t happen to the other white students.

As soon as this story made public there was a reactionary pushback by many white liberals that an “upper caste” Indian was trying to defame the white working class porters. This is bs because caste distinctions isn’t picked on by Westerners.

So I am very suspicious when white people try to get involved in the caste system since frankly it’s none of their business but I applaud that Ms. Girls had the chance to tell her story on her terms.

Finally what about Pakistanis; are we allowed to talk about caste? I’ve reflected on this a fair bit, ultimately I straddle the divide (to some extent) but it’s important to talk about Pakistan’s social system.

I do not think caste is at all operative above the middle classes who are Urducised and Muslimicised. It’s absurd to think caste has any real salience in a culture that takes its cue from Islamic values.

However there is a very strong clique in Pakistan that operate almost as a caste (but much more fluid – think Boston Brahmins) and are the sub-elite. They aren’t the most powerful or the richest or even celebrities but they are on the periphery of all 3 circles and in fact gel them together. I tweeted about them in a thread (I’ll link to it later) but they are the 1,000 families:

(1.) they live in Defense, Karachi; Clifton maybe. You could even go into particular phases

(2.) they school in KGS then go abroad for undergrad. Some stay in the West most (?) return

(3.) “Muhajir” families but most of them are the descendants of the administrators/ministers/leaders of post-independence Pakistan, when Karachi was the capital and migrants from UP provided the initial leadership cadre.

(4.) very well-spoken English and of course some Urdu for effect (Ghalib etc).

(5.) they love their drawing room politics and are entertaining to a fault. Virtually all of them drink.

(6.) they conform to a particular look since Punjabis and Pathans (other foreigners) have also married into this class but overt “ethnic” markers preclude entry into this class. If a family speak Punjabi or Pushto or even Urdu predominantly they simply are not a member of the 1,000 families. All have ultimately foreign origins (Persian, Arab, Morocco but like all recent Indian Muslim elite mostly Afghanistan) with Shijrahs and can usually pass for other parts of the Ummah.

(7.) they love to talk about how Partition was/may have been a mistake (virtually all are liberals) but deep down are the “germ of Pakistan”. They embody and pulsate the Pakistan ideal.

(8.) the other cities in Pakistan are not their territory. Karachi is their only base. Kashmir is another world (that is a Punjab-Isb-Pindi issue) since they all still have residual links into India proper.

(9.) Benazir Bhutto was an honorary member of this class; Sharifs are definitely not. Imran Khan, in his playboy heydays, was but now is not. It’s an ephemeral feeling but when “you know you know.” A lot of their fathers and grandfathers were celebrated Pakistanis either in the diplomatic corp. It’s why Pakistanis were known for being particularly suave in foreign affairs in the 60’s-80’s. This class probably lost power with Liaquat and with the rise of the first military govt; never regained it.

(10.) this class has also fallen on hard times. They became decadent in the 80’s and rely on good marriages and salaried employment to get them through. Not good at business (Memons etc) but rely on political connections.

This wouldn’t be a caste exactly because the boundaries are so slippery and ill-defined. However I would call them a “clique” that verges on a caste since it combines some Islamic and Hindu elements with a very strong colonial overlay.

Beyond the Military, Pakistan raison d’etre is really this highly successful sub-elite. They form that all-important ideological core since they set a national standard that Pakistanis/Pakistaniyat conform too.

The best name for the 1,000 Families are the Neo-Mughals since they embody (much like the Mughals) highly contradictory elements. In one go they are valiant defenders of Islam & Pakistan but on the other hand they are hedonistic and partial to all the “European” vices (alcohol, gambling, adultery, promiscuity). Straddling contradictions is what makes this clique-caste so compelling and a glue to Pakistan.

If India wants to eradicate Pakistan it needs to level Defense and KGS since the ideological core of the nation would be wiped out. The Muhajir psychosis, which is now the Pakistani psychosis, bubbles with them. Without them and their integration of all elite sectors of Pakistani society into a hedonistic socialising partying set; Pakistan would be more like Yugoslavia, which it’s avoided.

Of course the greatest failure of the neo-Mughal class was 1971 since Dhaka seemed to have a great number of these people.

70 thoughts on “Caste and the 1,000 Families”

  1. I don’t think these Karachi-based people are as powerful as you seem to think.

    Pakistan is run from Lahore and Islamabad. The heartland of the country is the Punjab. National elections are won based on who wins the Punjab. We let the PPP have Sindh and the MQM have Karachi. Same with KPK and Balochistan. All that really matters is who rules Central Punjab.

    On the British: I am currently reading Ferdinand Mount’s “The Tears of the Rajas”, which is the story of some of his own ancestors (chief among them John Low) who were involved in the East India Company and were involved in the running of India between 1805 and 1905. It is a fascinating book, with stories of the deposition of the boy-king of Oudh etc. Some of the governers-general were very devious in extorting land from Indian rulers such as the Nizam of Hyderabad. I plan on reviewing it for my own blog when I am done reading.

    1. Yes I agree with you that axis of power (by design) has shifted from Karachi to Islamabad-Lhr.

      However the thousand families wield a very powerful and invisible hold on the imagination since they glue so much of our society together. Without them what would Pakistan be but a Punjabadesh.

      The Boston Brahmins haven’t been prominent for well on two generations but doesnt mean they’ve just disappeared. I met one of them the other day..

      1. I’m not questioning that there is an economic elite in Karachi. But they have equivalents in Lahore as well. The equivalent of KGS is LGS. There’s also Aitchison College etc. The political elite of the country is mostly Punjabi as is the Army. Not that the smaller provinces don’t have their own elite.

        1. Again Punjabesh
          If anything the 1,000 families are the cultural elite of Karachi – the Calvary grounds families of Lahore are super-Punjab, shockingly not diverse at all (smattering of Kashmiris of course and Pathans)..

          Karachi is where the ideological core of Pakistan was originally seeded from – whatever the current permutation Pakistan was a state effectively created by Muhajir for both Wings.

          1. Yes, Lahore is not ethnically diverse.

            I agree Pakistan was created by people from the muslim-minority provinces (UP) but the people who have benefited the most have been punjabis.

          2. I disagree. “Paknationalism” is strongest in Punjab. I think Punjabis are the ones who believe in Pakistaniat the most. Part of this has to do with being the ethnic majority and not wanting to let sub-nationalism go too far in the smaller provinces.

          3. The karachiite elite are hardly PakNationalists; analogise them to Yankee WASP liberals. These are the people who created America (their Puritan ancestors did anyway) but are now so liberal in their thinking..

            I should name these 1,000 families the WASPs of Pakistan – or rather KGDM (Karachi Grammar Defence Muhajirs – Worldly Anglicised Socialite Patricians).

            The Lahore equivalent (there is no Islamabad equivalent); the Aitchinsonians etc come from the Punjab itself.

  2. “I do not think caste is at all operative above the middle classes who are Urducised and Muslimicised.”

    You would be surprised to know how much of this is true about India too. If lets say a white american knowledge of India only comes from Bollywood then probably he would never even know about caste. This is how we middle class/upper class have sanitized our self. We go to private schools where you only meet the very same people,etc. This is our Indian middle class version of “I dont see colour”, but then sign up for caste matrimonial services. The reaction my mother had every time caste came up was defensive(something you see in blog’s comments as well)

    Growing up in middle class upper caste home, there was hardly any discussion on caste, its only when i went to the countryside during holidays did i come across caste. Funny enough i actually came to know more about Tribals/Non tribals dynamic even before i came to know about caste.

    But i would say due to internet and tv today, both the right and left in India can no longer run away from the topic, its a better than status quo. In India still, sadly, caste and class are interchangeable words.

    “Finally what about Pakistanis; are we allowed to talk about caste? ”

    Even a Scandinavian can talk about it. Its as if we Indians somehow dont comment on everything under the sun.

    1. I see a lot of discussion here about caste – which is fine, whoever brings it up. But it isn’t as if Pakistan is free of its own brand of similarly vicious forms of social discrimination – like that against Ahmadis, Shias not to mention out and out kaffirs. Why do we so rarely see much discussion about that ? Are caste discussions truly about promoting equality or just a way to further a sectarian agenda ?

  3. Coming to this as an outsider: you write “caste was tremendously strengthened during the colonial era. I’m not arguing that it was created during the time of the Brits, the genetic data shows otherwise, but for the purposes of administrations & control, rigid lines were always drawn over the population. The Brits were not benevolent masters “.

    One possible interpretation of this would be: varna has been around for at least 3000 years if you can believe the texts, Jati has been around for at least 2000 years if you believe the genetics, but somehow the malevolent Brits made it much worse.

    Is that what you mean? If so, on what grounds?

    1. The Hindu-Muslim divide was around for 1,000 years but the British did not manage India for Indian interests but for British interests. Any pre-existing fissures in Indian society were exploited and magnified.

      We went from:

      (1.) a despotic state switching between Persian & Urdu with virtually all wealth circulating inside the Indian region.

      (2.) to a divided one speaking English and tailored to servicing a foreign economy (India’s military served Britain as well).

      Don’t make me out to be a SJW please (I’m a paid up member of the Tory Party) and oh btw return the Koh-I-Noor!

      1. Saurav asks an excellent question. I don’t know who the Koh-I-Noor should be returned to.

        Zach, Saurav and everyone else, who should the Shiva artifact refereed to in the last video of “Kailash and Soma central to Arya culture” be returned to?

        The video claims it was carbon dated to 28 thousand years ago. Should it remain in the US for further analysis? Or be returned? And if returned, returned to whom? The Dalai Lama? Another Tibetan lineage?

      2. So if I understand you correctly:

        The divisions between different Jati in pre-British times were deep and strong enough to keep them genetically separate for a couple of thousand years.

        The British deepened divisions between Muslims and Hindus.

        Therefore the British are to blame for Jati?

        1. The British (well English to be precise) are to blame not for Jati but the magnification and systematisation of caste.

          Their martial race theory etc, even patronising various communities; it’s classic standard textbook colonialism/imperialism

        2. Stephen at one time Jatis moved between Varnas. They only recently stratified inside Varnas.

          Jati and Varna are not t

          1. Jati and Varna are not the same. By inventing the word and concept of “caste” after 1499, the Europeans made things far worse than was the case before. The major Hindu leaders such as they are . . . are attempting to make Jati fluid between Varna again. The post modernists are an obstacle to this.

            Stephen, what does “caste” mean to you?

    2. You might like to check this thread out –


      Here is how ‘colonizers’ exploited every little difference among the native people –

      Class & Feudal divisions were the norms {& maybe the financial prosperity of few communities resulted in the formation of guilds with strong endogamy much earlier than Europe} but colonizers used various ways to reward the ‘discriminatory behavior’ & to derail all debates towards ‘identities’; for e.g. –

      – Notice the shift from general education, health etc. parameters to the identities, their positions & the effects of these on the earlier parameters thus shifting the debate from “Individualistic concerns” to the “Identity concerns”.

      Discriminatory practices like Anglo-Indian preference over Indians, Upper Caste preference over others, Race Science, Criminal Tribes, Communal award or Identity manipulation using various Land acts etc.

      Identity Based Policies and Identity Manipulation Evidence from Punjab –

      They colored every human behavior through ‘Caste’ lens in India, if i have different notion of cleanliness from other person my behavior can be termed as casteist & that’s the extent of division colonizers have created.

      1. I forgot to mention – Martial races as one of the discriminatory categories introduced by the Colonizers.

        For further reading –
        Castes of Mind N. Dirks
        Beyond Caste Sumit Guha

        Colonizers made their subjects the victims of the same Identity politics which now they are rallying against ironic isn’t it ?

        1. Want to check Caste phenomenon & it’s evolution during ancient India then check the author ‘Timothy Lubin’ –

          Author page –

          Not many places where one can get the authentic work regarding Islamic rule on caste system but if you check the reddit thread i have edited the Islamic history from articles from Caste activists sites which tried to blame Hinduism.

  4. Stephen,

    The word “caste” was invented by the Portuguese.

    Traditional eastern philosophy has 4 Varnas. Separately people keep track of their Jati going back hundreds of generations [over 6,000 years]. In the scriptures, Jati and Varna are separate. Different Jatis flow in and out of Varnas. Say moving from Kshatriya to Brahmin, from Brahmin to Vaishya etc. In addition individuals flow into and out of Varna irrespective of Jati.

    It is hard to understand Varna without Pratyaksha (direct perception of things as they are). This can be gained through meditation. Varna is dependent on the qualities, characteristics, tendencies and interests of people.

    A Brahmin is someone who is in a very high meditative witness state 24 hours a day.
    A Kshatriya is someone who is in a high meditative witness state 24 hours a day while engaged in worldly work, socio-political activities, physical exertion,
    A Vaishya is someone who is in a modest meditative witness state most of the time but not continuously; and engaged in product development, process innovation or other creative productive tasks.
    A Shudra are loving people who are devotionally or emotionally oriented and engage in semi skilled work.

    I am not aware of any untouchables in the old scriptures. The concept of Mleccha is introduced in the Mahabharata era narratives. However Mleccha is not untouchable. Rather a Mleccha is someone who chooses to follow a different path of their own free will (and doesn’t want to participate in Varna). Some Mlecchas are very advanced (spiritually and temporally) and deeply venerated . . . even worshiped.

    No Varna is better than any other. To even imply such a thing is a huge sin [Maha Paapa] in eastern philosophy. All Varnas and all Mlecchas are divine and potentially indescribably powerful and potentially indescribably wise.

    Having said all this . . . it is worth noting that this was the goal of society thousands of years ago. In practice Arya Varsha had corrupted and denigrated by the time muslims invaded in the 640s AD.

    1. I don’t like to delve into the possibilities since right wingers make absurd claims because of the similarities of ancient belief systems. Yes i have studied about this stuff but there is just too much ambiguity since theories based upon linguistics & other similar Sciences are too vague to make any claims. I rather take preference of stuff which presents a much more clearer picture like epigraphs, manuscripts, archeology & so on.

      For e.g. – Arya is Iranian term & Avesta is very similar to the early Hinduism also BMAC results suggest this to be the case so that’s the position i would support.

      Thus i need proofs from multiple Sciences to follow a certain preposition & no i don’t simply accept the “Scholarly” view since we should be using our own minds to the conclusions scholars present since every conclusion comes with a narrative of every individual’s beliefs.

  5. The Aryan-Iranian linguistic/cultural connection is wellknown. There are Persian restaurants called Arya here in the US. Darius the great referred to his language as the Aryan language.

    Aryan, Aryaman, Aryasp are Persian names.

  6. Interesting article. But can you name at least some of these 1000 families, so that we can learn how they look, and how they roll.

    1. I could but you wouldn’t know them – they aren’t especially prominent. I would definitely say the:

      This family is super-emblematic of this caste..

      Her father’s family is not Indian but actually Pakistani; another emblematic one. – the heir has married into this group of family.

      There are maybe another 4-5 families I can roll off but they aren’t internationally prominent but the clique is at once extremely tight but also very loose (not formalised).

      The Sethis, Taseers, Bhuttos socialise with this circle extensively ..

      Since commentators on BP obsess over the terms Ashraf/Ajlaf (I’ve never heard these terms); virtually all of these families have substantive foreign infusion (mainly Afghan).

      1. I agree with Kabir here. The families you list seem to be the local Karachi elites rather than “pan-pakistan” elites. My understanding is that Pakistan is dominated by Punjabi land owning families and military tradition families. Like those coming from upper Punjab / Pathohar plateau region.

  7. Also, who will the counterpart of this clique in India? Which caste/community/ethnicity feels most Indian, and likes to believe that the whole Idea of India rest on their shoulders.

    1. India is too large for this. But there was a time, before I was born, that Kashmiri Pandit haft khandan – inter-marrying families of Persian/Urdu-speaking KPs who moved to Delhi and Western UP as courtiers of latter-day Moghals – had a power monopoly in Delhi. These are: Nehrus, Katjus, Saprus, Kauls-Kaws, Dhars, Razdans-Duranis and Haksars.

      As Moghals gave way to the British, this class of people rapidly Westernized and by Independence formed a large nepotistic group that controlled top echelons of Indian bureaucracy, intelligence, judiciary, sections of the military and indeed the Prime Minister’s office. Over time, however, this power skew has almost entirely been diluted by democracy and by the massive influx of W Punjabis into Delhi, and lately Haryanvis. Though if you visit Greater Kailash or Pamposh (lit. Lotus in Kashmiri) Enclave in South Delhi, you’ll find most of these chaps with their Alsatians.

      Mumbai developed as a competing economic and commercial power centre under the Brits and entirely different dynamics played out there – virtual domination by Parsi (and lesser extent Gujarati) families. Now, of course, both Marwari and Gujarati Hindu/Jain families dominate.

      (A very North India centric view and I apologize for it)

      1. Jawaharlal Nehru was typical of the KP Establishment people and in his Autobiography he details his ancestors. Generally KPs were adaptable to changes in Establishment and trimming their sails accordingly.

        1. Old survival skills. No longer relevant. The old swamp’s been drained, so to speak. Now we are being ruled by our petty traders and mercantile class. C’est la vie…

      2. KP families may be part of the group who feel that they have an obligation of carrying out the nationalist agenda of India, but I doubt Parsis ever felt that way. Economic domination is not necessarily synonymous with the sense of “trusteeship” of a nation’s core spirit.

        Parsis have never really felt Indian, and during colonial times they explicitly said so. They pointedly expressed their Iranian roots and bracketed themselves with other foreign origin communities of India (Jews, Anglo-Indians). In part this was simply due to the fact that during British India it was more fashionable to have foreign origins, but they really flaunted it.

        I remember Indian field marshal Sam Maneckshaw was accused of selling military secrets to Pakistan. Enough circumstantial evidence exists that it wasn’t entire a figment of somebody’s imagination.

        1. I think that is unfair on the late lamented Field Marshall.
          Parsis don’t have to say anything, everyone knows they came from Iran centuries ago and they have got integrated as Gujaratis before going all India.

        2. I wouldn’t tar an entire community in such a manner. Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Trombay, Tata Memorial Cancer Research Centre in Mumbai .. I could go on and on about contributions of Parsis to India.

          PS: I have a Parsi brother-in-law, and my wife’s family has had verious instances of inter-marriage with Parsis. I don’t see them any differently from Gujarati-speaking Indians

          PPS: The diaspora Kashmiri Pandits have harmed India a lot more than Parsis ever have (or could).

        3. Sorry, but this is ridiculous. The Parsis engaged with the British, but so did far larger numbers of Hindu Rajputs, Jats, Marathas, Gorkhas etc as loyal soldiers, and Brahmins as obedient bureaucrats. Parsis participated in the freedom struggle in myriad ways. India’s nuclear prowess owes much to Homi Bhabha.

          If anything, the Parsi ventures in business formed the backbone of India’s economic independence. They could have fled west with their wealth like the H1B upper caste Hindus do with their engineering degrees & English skills (paid for by the Indian tax payer) at first opportunity, but stayed in India through really rough times.

          Above all, the success of Parsis emboldened the Gujarati banias to expand their own business horizons which is the only reason we have a decently industrialized country today.

          1. Its interesting how you left that one community south of the Vindhyas among your “loyal” communities list 😛

            Gujarati Banias have been expanding their business long before the parsis showed up on Indian shores. The Parsis and those who wanted to leave, left India. Let’s neither romanticize the community(stayed in India through really rough times.) or vilify them (Parsis have never really felt Indian… )

          2. I agree with Saurav that us Indians have a tendency to glorify certain minorities (or sometimes vilify them). Parsis have made contributions to India, but so have many other communities. For all the H1Bs that have left India, there are many engineers and other technocrats that stayed back in India and made valuable contributions. Just to give one example, Tam Brams are a community that has had enormous success outside of India, and brought a lot of reflected glory back to the country, which is in and of itself valuable, but at the same time have been instrumental in the shaping of modern India as bureaucrats, academics and technocrats.

            On the question of Gujarati banias vs. Parsis – Parsis were farmers until the 17th century, and were not really known for their trading or business prowess. Gujarati Banias (Hindus and Jains, although predominantly Jain until the 17th century) have been trading globally for millennium or two. Gujarati Banias didn’t need the Parsis to open up the field for them or show them the way, although there were periods where they certainly dominated and took the lead.
            Read up on Virji Vora (Gujarati Bania, incidentally Jain) of 17th century Surat, who by many accounts was among the richest individuals in the world at the time, and often played a role in Mughal succession battles (including Shahjahan vs. Aurangzeb if memory serves right).

    2. “Which caste/community/ethnicity feels most Indian, and likes to believe that the whole Idea of India rest on their shoulders.”

      No single caste/community/ethnicity feels Indian. The closest you can come up is N-Indian upper,middle-caste hindi speaking ,conservative and religious folks who “feel” they are the most Indian. All other communities(bengali bhadraloks, tamil federilist wallas) are far too small. This is of course just the ones who feel the most Indian. In terms of the economic clique, i would tend to agree with slapstick .(Baniyas, Parsee et all)

      1. Agree.
        I would say that there are many small cliques that feel very “whatever their group is” plus very Indian. I would put Tamil Brahmins in this category (perhaps all Southern Brahmins). Tam Brams are an enormously gifted and exceptional community. Science, art, music, engineering. bureaucracy, corporates, and increasingly in business – there is a not a field that they don’t dominate or at the very least have a significant presence in. Someone should do an article on them.

        Punjabi Hindu Khatris, in somewhat different ways, and to a lesser extent, are similarly impressive.

        1. Tam brahms are in this category because after Periyar’s revolution they were casted out as the other( till the Ealam wars) . Every minority specially which is casted out as the other tries to be more nationalistic (KPs , Punjabi hindus) because nation is the only safe space it has against its regional opponent(Kashmiri muslims, Sikhs during Khalistan). The day they are co -opted in their regional narrative, they go back to what they were earlier.

          1. Bhaibands has become my 2nd fav thing about Pakistan’s surnames/Biradirs after “Gandapur”

  8. I would say, Maharashtrian Brahmins are the ones who really feel the itch to go the extra mile to protect the Indian nation. They are the ones to founded RSS, and still dominate it. Who else do you think can be put in this category?

    1. No Marathi Brahmin has ever received the Param Vir Chakra, nor was any Marathi Brahmin executed by the British. So much for extra mile ….

    2. You think the khaki chuddies (apparently they’ve started wearing trousers now..) protect India? This is hilarious.

      1. I am not saying they protect India. I am saying, *they feel* they do.

        May be I am not being able to put it in right words. I am trying to figure out which communities feel, rightly or wrongly, as if the entire onus of protecting the nation’s spirit lies on their shoulders. India is too vast and myriad to remain beholden to any one community to protect its spirit. As Naipual famously said, “India will go on.” But that doesnt stop some people to believe they are the ones guarding its ideological frontiers, and without them the whole idea will implode.

        1. The Maharashtrian *Desastha* Brahmins feel that they can protect India is because of their own imagination of Peshwai—>Gokhale–>Savarkar heritage. For them even N-Indian upper castes are too hot headed and idealistic (Rajputs) while they see themselves as more pragmatic which is needed to fight the current day Mughals (Congress). But they know deep within that they have to kowtow to the whole N-Indian idea of India since its N-Indian which brings the foot soldier and ballast(Ram temple movement etc) and not them.

        2. I think almost all castes have people who think they are ‘proper ‘ Bharathiyas. OTOH, in the sense of what Zack says as an informal ‘Ruling Elite” I don’t think some communities can be singled out. Is RSS top layer part of Ruling Elite? Don’t know.

          If there’s a Ruling Elite
          A It should have a strong sense historic mission
          B it should be able to occupy positions of influence in what really matters in discharging that mission ie Economic and Foreign policies, military strategic, strategy making and judicial and political control.
 should have an Espirit de Corps like Russian Communist Party or British Aristocracy.
          D. It should have a strong sense of discipline and prepared to make sacrifices of personal interests in favour of the mission.
          E. It should have a sink or swim attitude with the country and with each other.

          Given these things I doubt any single caste or community can fit the bill.
          In a country of 2000 castes, 300 languages and many major religions , it can be drawn from anywhere.

          1. Does Brahmins as a pan Indian community fit that bill? There are indications that they are.

    3. Isn’t the RSS more properly categorized as an “anti-national” group?

      Or at least, “anti” to the Indian nation as it is today?

      1. RSS is an extra-political pressure group (and semi-militant social organisation) whose goals clearly run counter to the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. It remains to be seen how they and their lackeys in the BJP/NDA evolve.

        1. You may have your personal dislike for RSS, and it is OK, but the point I was making is that the founders of RSS wouldn’t have founded it with the aim of screwing India :). In their mind they were still doing a service to the nation. I hope you can see the nuance and understand the thrust of my argument.

          1. Depends on what you mean by “nation”. It is a loaded word, at least for the RSS.

            RSS ideologues have always recognized that their ideology runs counter to the founding ideology of India.

            They have been co-opted to an extent (e.g. now accept the flag) but the jury is still out on their subversive agenda. I don’t think any one seriously thinks RSS guards India’s founding ideology, and nor do the RSS chaps themselves. Their main preoccupation is guarding “Hindu culture”.


            So, yes, their aim is to screw India as it is currently set up in law and re-make it. Like the Maoists, except less violent.

      2. As towards the spirit of Indian constitution the RSS is “anti national” group. As towards the Indian nation the debate is still on going.

  9. Vikram said “They could have fled west with their wealth like the H1B upper caste Hindus do with their engineering degrees & English skills (paid for by the Indian tax payer) at first opportunity, but stayed in India through really rough times.”

    Whats really wrong in emigrating to new lands and finding personal success. This success often helps the whole group as well. It is the successful Indians in the west who built a reputation for India’s education institutes and helped pull an army of engineers from India to the west through network effects.

    Through indirect & direct means this has helped Indian economy a good deal. Remittances are one obvious help. Many returned engineers and scientists have started companies in India. This has also led to a closer integration of Indian economy with the west and has brought the latest tech & management ideas to Indian businesses. Indian services companies often get contracts because the Indian origin people at high places in western companies award them. Not because of any inherent bias but just because of familiarity.

    The idea that you must stay on in India and work there in order to be called a patriot is a naive one. I believe a ‘people’ make a country not a piece of land. If you can help out your group wherever you are that’s great.

    With the thinking you seem to be advocating, Europeans would never have settled in the Americas and Australia or the Viking raids and settlements would never have happened. You can argue that these events were extremely successful of the groups emigrating though not so much for the natives.

    1. Through indirect & direct means this has helped Indian economy a good deal. Remittances are one obvious help. Many returned engineers and scientists have started companies in India.

      I dont know numbers for India.

      In Sri Lanka there is a reasonable amount of outsourcing. The London Stock exchange is run on on SL software ( I have no idea, if these are just holding companies.

      (I have said this before, hoipolloi)
      The biggest foreign exchange earnings for SL are from workers in the mid east. Of the mid-east workers 60-70% are women who are working as housemaids/slaves.

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