A friend told me today that I am a leftist because I was born a Brahmin. Her argument appeared to me to be an oversimplification, but I thought I should present it here:
1) Brahmin/Kayastha dominance in the post-independence elite gave it an anti-business bias
2) This was partly an attack on the traditional mercantile/entrepreneurial upper-caste/community groups - baniya, marwari, khatri, etc, which had a complex love-hate relationship with the Indian National Congress during the national movement
3) The struggle for power WITHIN the upper-castes, made the Brahmin/Kayastha dominated elite anti-business, and the presence of the USSR made it pro-socialist.
4) My friend argues that the 'socialist' elite had no real concern for the poor, or the underprivileged - dalits & OBCs for instance. The commitment to state-capitalism was essentially to keep mercantile caste-communities in check
5) The 'imagined' customs and traditions of Brahminism - which my friend argues emerged in the colonial period - also made the state privilege KNOWLEDGE over MONEY. This worked perfectly for Brahmins & Kayasthas who had the highest exposure to colonial power-knowledge
6) The Brahmin/Kayastha dominance began to wane from the mid-1980s, when India began to turn towards market capitalism. This opened the space for mercantile/entrepreneurial caste-communities to expand their presence in state insitutions.
7) My friend believes, this is the reason why the 'new' elite (where the mercantile upper castes have acquired significant dominance) is willing to accept economic slowdown & even lower earnings for the medium term, to end the rule of the English-speaking Brahmin/Kayastha
8) According to her, the BJP vs INC battle is essentially a fight WITHIN the upper-castes. The BJP is dominated by mercantile castes & NON-ENGLISH speaking Brahmins, while the INC represents the ENGLISH-Speaking non-mercantile Savarna castes.
Both parties have built alliances beyond the Savarna space. THe BJP's alliances - with MBCs and non-dominant dalit castes - are stronger than INC's alliances because the dominant OBC & dalit vote is now with their own parties. Even INC's minority vote is split.
As I said at the beginning of the thread, I find her argument to be an oversimplification. But, I found it worth engaging with it and seeing whether it stands the test of rigorous analysis,
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