Bazaru is a Bad Word

The Economic Times - - Saturday Feature -

loyal to a sin­gle feu­dal pa­tron, was granted more re­spect than the pros­ti­tute who auc­tioned­herser­vices­but­wasathor­ough­pro­fes­sional,treatin­gall­pay­ing­cus­tom­erse­qually.

Feu­dal­land-basede­conomiesofk­sha­triyas value Lak­shmi as Bhu-devi (tan­gi­ble land) while mar­ket-based economies of vaishyas value Lak­shmi as Shree-devi (in­tan­gi­ble value). These two economies vie for power to dom­i­nate so­ci­ety. In art, the for­mer is rep­re­sented as a pot of grain, the lat­ter by a pot of gold. The bat­tle be­tween the Old World of Europe and the New World of Amer­ica is a bat­tle be­tween ksha­triyas and vaniks, with the kings of yore and their Church not sup­port­ing the newly emerg­ing bands of in­dus­tri­al­ists, fol­low­ing the sci­en­tific rev­o­lu­tion, who needed cap­i­tal for their busi­ness. So they split from the old Church (Catholic), and cre­ated their own new church (Protes­tantism), that did not look down on mon­eylend­ing, and moved from Europe to Amer­ica to cre­ate a repub­lic that sup­ported free en­ter­prise and did not care much for in­her­ited en­ti­tle­ment. In the new world or­der cre­ated by Amer­i­cans, pro­fes­sion­al­ism mat­ters more than loy­alty, the fickle Shree-devi who needs to be at­tracted was pre­ferred over Bhu-devi who has to be con­quered and con­trolled.

In In­dia, the feu­dal or­ders were le­git­imised by brah­mins, who helped es­tab­lish new vil­lages es­pe­cially in the south, and cre­ated sys­tems for tax col­lec­tion­forGod’sfirst­ser­vant,thek­ing.The­mar­ket forces were pa­tro­n­ised by the monas­tic Bud­dhist and Jain or­ders, who looked down on vi­o­lence that was in­te­gral to war and agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties. Not sur­pris­ingly, holy Hindu texts such as Ra­mayana and Ma­hab­harata re­fer more to ksha­triyas and brah­mins, while the Bud­dhist Jatakas re­fer more to mer­chants and traders.

Of course things are not so sim­ple. There were many kings who favoured Bud­dhism and Jain­ism, and in South East Asia, it is Bud­dhism that pre­vailed over Brah­min­ism. And many trad­ing com­mu­ni­ties em­braced Brah­min­ism such as the Gu­jarati Vaish­navas and the Tamil Chet­tiars. Over­all how­ever, In­dia favoured the ksha­triya feu­dal­ism to mar­ketb a s e d e c onomies of vaishyas. Once a coun­try of sea-far­ing mer­chants, we out­sourced in­ter­na­tional trade to Arabs, and be­came in­ward look­ing, frogs in the well (kupa-man­duka), valu­ing sub­mis­sion to au­thor­ity (bhakti) rather than rev­el­ling in the quest for bhoga in the bazaar.

Our Ksha­triya es­tab­lished feu­dal­ism is un­easy with all things as­so­ci­ated with the mar­ket

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