Thursday, Dec 09, 2021
Outlook.com
Review

Socialism's Other

G.D. not only defined India's big business, he essayed a role in its politics that wasn't to last

Socialism's Other
Socialism's Other
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Birlas are Marwaris of Pilani of the Maheswari subcaste. Strict vegetarians and teetotallers, they venerate the cow and conform to Vaishnavite ritual. They marry within their sub-caste: a breach of this tradition can invite ostracism. They regarded the crossing of the seas sinful and had to undergo ritual cleansing before being readmitted. They prospered as small-time traders in Pilani till they found greener pastures in metros, mainly Bombay and Calcutta. Wherever they went, they carried their family traditions with them and remained a close-knit community. They earned goodwill where they settled by generous donations to charitable institutions.

By the time G.D. was brought to Calcutta in the 1890s, the family was well-set on the road to opulence: his father Baldev Das had acquired the honorific of Raja. They made their home in the Marwari mohalla of Bara Bazaar. Fortunes were built on trading in opium, import of cloth and jute. For a while, G.D. was sent to Bombay where he picked up English and read the classics. He followed the strict regimen of his childhood, rising well before dawn and spending at least two hours before sunrise in prayer and physical exercise. (He even toyed with the idea of becoming a professional wrestler). Back in Calcutta, he joined the Bengali terrorists. He was named among those wanted in the Rodda conspiracy case to smuggle arms and went underground for three months.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

AFSPA: When SC Probe Panel Found Six Encounters In Manipur To Be Fake

AFSPA: When SC Probe Panel Found Six Encounters In Manipur To Be Fake

AFSPA is in force in Nagaland, Assam and parts of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast in Jammu and Kashmir.

CDS General Bipin Rawat - A Saga Of Valour And Excellence

CDS General Bipin Rawat - A Saga Of Valour And Excellence

General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat held the status of a four star general of the Indian Army. He took over as the 27th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on December 17, 2016.

Ashes, 1st Test, Day 2 LIVE: Warner, Labuschagne In Century Stand

Ashes, 1st Test, Day 2 LIVE: Warner, Labuschagne In Century Stand

Get here live cricket scores of day 2 of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. Pat Cummins has given Australia a head start with a five-wicket haul on Day 1.

IAF’s Mi-17V5: All About The Helicopter That Crashed Carrying India's First CDS Bipin Rawat

IAF’s Mi-17V5: All About The Helicopter That Crashed Carrying India's First CDS Bipin Rawat

IAF’s Mi-17V5 helicopter is one of the most advanced military aircrafts equipped with advanced technology to help it to traverse adverse climatic and war situations.