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Indian Bania On British Raj Economics


Indian minds decipher Western economic mechanisms.

Vithaldas Thackerdas from the Bhatti community  |  An illustration of the 1358 Bhatti Parishad meeting  |  Image source and courtesy - globalbhatia.org

Vithaldas Thackerdas from the Bhatti community | An illustration of the 1358 Bhatti Parishad meeting | Image source and courtesy - globalbhatia.org

Nearly a 100 years ago, in 1915, even before Keynes’s star had risen, an Indian economist, SV Doraiswami, published his book, Indian Finance, Currency And Banking. Doraiswami’s ideas were opposed to those of Keynes and his views are vindicated by events today.

Doraiswami had already published his views in several outlets like London’s Statist, and his book was reviewed around the world. In the decades that followed, though Doraiswami’s work was known in academic circles, the Keynesian economists who gained control of academia were dismissive of his ideas and relegated him to the footnotes as they were conditioned to believe that governments could solve all problems.

Doraiswami faulted the British economic policies in India and demanded that the central bank be an ‘instrument for allowing and encouraging the free and unfettered inflow of gold into India.’ He wrote that a ‘gold standard without a gold currency is an absurdity’ and wrote in support of a resolution by Vitthaldas Thackersey in the Imperial Legislative Council calling for the opening of mints for the free coinage of gold. (via Special: Economic meltdown vindicates forgotten Indian economist – Analysis – DNA).

In Days Gone By

Some of colonial India’s leaders and activists knew of and believed in भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra. For instance, the link between war and gold – forgotten today, but well known then.

One such person was Vithaldas Thackersey. His proposal for setting up a mint at Mumbai received wide attention – and support. The best of British brains were needed to derail and delay the project till such time that all its ‘problems’ for the British Raj were removed.

Keynes himself reviewed this proposal and included this in his tract on Indian currency.

Men and Money

From pre-Gandhiji era, Vithaldas Thackersey (a Gujarathi Bhattia) worked to deliver credit banking to Indians and  in urban and rural areas – at a time when the British Raj was working to extract and fencing access to capital for Indians.

Today India’s ‘intellectuals’ have forgotten both.

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra and gold.

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