Saturday, September 7, 2013

Baniya

Dhaniya” and “dulhaniya” seem to be the only two words that rhyme with “Baniya”, and call it a coincidence if you may, but there cannot be better words to describe the life priorities of the Baniya clan. There’s no other caste in India which can so brilliantly put money’s worth to everything, from a sprig of dhaniya to the celebration of the bitiya turning into a dulhaniya. It’s unfair how when quizzed about the different types of people living in North India, “Punjabi”, “Jaat”, “Bihari” and “Rajput” are answers that so easily overshadow the identity of this massive clan. To give them a position of recognition that they so rightly deserve, I present to you some simple ways in which you can spot a Baniya.

It’s quite easy to tell a well-bred Baniya from his appearance. While the Jaat boys keep a short crop on their heads and the Punjabis experiment with beards that look like electro-cardio graphs lining their jaw-line, the Baniya boys always keep it simple with their hair neatly parted from the side. A true mumma’s boy, the Baniya bears all accusations of having smeared his hair with “chameli ka tel” in silence, but never admits to using Dabur Amla or the “sarson ka tel” which his mother gently massages on his scalp every night. Also, what the world calls an olive skin tone is what most Baniyas inherit from their parents. Being desi to the core, if given a chance, they’d describe their color to be more of “Mathura ka pedha” than olive. And surprisingly, color is not the only characteristic that the pedha lends to them. A perfectly round belly that is smooth with very little or no hair is also a pedha like quality, which makes them perfect for playing the role of a pundit ji in a school play.

While the Mittals, Goyals and Gargs form around twenty percent of their total community size, the Guptas and Aggarwals reign with almost three-quarters of their total population. Keeping the family businesses aside, the career options available to them seem to be even fewer than the number of surnames to choose from. While half of them decide to pursue Chartered Accountancy, the other half open sweet shops at every corner of every market in the city. The fact that these people are not made for creative pursuits is clear from how the glow sign boards of all the Aggarwal Sweet Corners look exactly the same and yet boast of their uniqueness with the words: Humari koi branch nahi hai.

Highly educated, they could have made a name for themselves in the field of literature, but deciding on whether to spell their name as “Aggarwal”, “Agarwal” or “Agrawal” and “Goyal” or “Goel” takes up most of their childhood and then it gets too late to discover the rest of the English language. They could’ve also tried to venture into the world of Bollywood, but considering the amount they spend on weddings, it definitely does not make much financial sense to risk their children marrying a couple of times during their lifetime. Also, the surname Goyal will never bring images of washboard abs in your head.

It sounds ridiculous when Baniyas are stereotyped as misers. Born investors, they learn that the biggest commitment that one has to make in life is to one’s life partner. Thus, one of their life’s goals is to save enough to build a decent initial capital to invest in their marriages. Known for their fair dealing, they trust only people from their own community. Marriage outside the caste is not a sin that a hundred religious trips to Vrindavan can wash away. And therefore, the University of Delhi stands as proof of the fact that every relationship of a Punjabi boy and a Baniya girl always ends with the situational soundtrack, “Achha sila diya tune mere pyaar ka.

The Baniya might keep a five hundred rupee note in his wallet, and still make you pay for his bottle of coke in the canteen as the purchase requires a tenner. He might call you only if you happen to have a connection with the same telephone carrier; or he might call at a time when he knows you won’t answer, so that he gets called back. He might turn up for your birthday party with just a hand-made card and hint that it’s the thought that counts. But you should know that it’s no miracle that one of the first Indians to make it to the Forbes Top Ten Billionaires was a Mittal Baniya. After all, not everyone can pull off spending sixty million dollars on one's daughter's wedding and then cut down on employees' health and retirement benefits with the excuse that his company does not make that much money.

Image Source: siticable.wordpress.com

49 comments:

  1. Since we are talking of MITHAIS here, should add more variety than just jalebis... :P
    5 are less here.. Sahi description di hai..
    The best part "Mithai ke saath dibba mat tol, BEY!"
    Chalo sahi hai, sangat k kuch to asar pada... :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See! You had to like it. If it's relatable, it's good :D

      Thanks, baniye :D

      Delete
  2. It seems that you'd done an extensive research on Baniya clan...!!:-)
    Impressive work done!
    Put these in your Dibba-@@@@@:D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Took me years of keen observation. A little more than five hundred words aise hi thodi likhe jaate hain. Thank you :)

      Delete
  3. Chamdi jaye par damdi na jaye.
    Baniya girls wait for marriage,it lends meaning to their lives.
    Banija will gel well with punjabi,they'll compliment each other.
    Punjabi sho-sha with baniyas miserliness is doomed maybe ,because of the clash of values.
    And punjabis run after bongs-this i've seen.
    Between me and you-was ur heart broken by a baniya babe?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dhaniya and Dulhaniya
    Haha...too good! XD
    Aggarwal Sweets' sweet box for you this time! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautifully crafted!!!
    With few corrections here and there: the most popular profession amongst baniya beside sweet shop is engineering :P
    Everytime you friend circle goes cash crunched towards month end, only your baniya Bhai/behen will have enough thanks to his calculations to treat everyone!

    Thank you, it actually feels like a dedicated post :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to come to a seminar for Chartered Accountants once. More than seventy five percent are Baniyas!

      We both agree, Baniyas are made to do intelligent stuff in life :D

      Delete
  6. You seem to have forgotten "muniya"
    Chalat musafar..pinjre wali muniya

    ReplyDelete
  7. More than anything i had love to complement upon d fact dt ur post's first comment is from a baniya and dt too filled wd taarif ..hard to c a baniya spend ds way!!!!!!! - did u bribe him ???-
    But nonetheless grtt effort....@@@

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  8. Hahaha! Sharing this with all the Baniyas I know! Do a post on Bongs na? :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are not a lot of Bengalis that I know. I should stalk you as part of my research then :D

      And, thanks :)

      Delete
  9. Very nicely done...

    Your comment "We both agree, Baniyas are made to do intelligent stuff in life :D" has made me retrospect my life & learn about the intelligent stuff in life I am made to do.

    -Baniya by birth,not by choice :p
    @@@@@ and an Extra @

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha. I don't think being Baniya by choice would be a bad thing either. They have all the money :D
      Thank you :)

      Delete
  10. I didnt knw much about dis clan stuff bt yeah nw aftr reading ur posts I knw quite well about the punjabis n baniyas ;-) a nyc write up wid subtle humour:-)lovd it.
    I have become a big fan of ur writing styl:-P n yeah @@@@@ al d jalebis 4 u
    Waiting eagrly 4 ur nxt n plz do one for bongs.....wud b very delightd:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Manisha :)
      I do not really know a lot of Bongs to be able to form unreasonable opinions about them. Maybe you can help me with it a little and tell me about some Bengali stereotypes. I will definitely write one then. Feel free to email me with some points :D

      Delete
    2. Time is surely changing but there are still many baniyas who are still orthodox in their thinking ....not letting their son marry a punjabi girl...where the girl's family doesn't have any issue

      Delete
  11. Great baniya bashing this! :D baniya myself, totally relate to how the community functions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha. It's great how all the Baniyas took it in such great spirit. Love the clan :D

      Delete
  12. arre
    dhaniya, dulhaniyyaa and womaniyaa. Mat bhoolo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! That is the second time i made you exclaim 'damn'.
      One more and you owe me jalebis.

      Delete
  13. HAHA. too good.
    I'm thinking about all your Baniya friends right now! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, no, wait! Now you know what my Baniya friends are like :D

      Delete
  14. Just fablous Mr Ahuja. I am myself an entrepreneur and belong to the baniya caste, residing in Faridabad. I just loved your 'Baniya Bashing' and especially these crispy lines "Mithai ke saath dibba mat tol, BEY!". As a member of the community, I can say that all of your observations are near to the point. But as you are yourself a punjabi & you have written something about the context I am going to raise, I would dare to ask a question, if a baniya boy loves a punjabi girl, then would the girl family consider giving their daughter in a baniya family ????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know a very close family which married their Punjabi daughter into a Baniya family. I think times are changing, so one shouldn't generalize. Unless generalizing makes for good humor :D

      Delete
    2. But do u think that baniyas can marry their daughter to a punjabi boy (sikh) ever?

      Delete
  15. I'll laugh just because I cant stop, in (near) total disagreement of (almost) everything you said though :P
    Nice one, @@@@@ for you!

    PS: You forgot the Bansals, I was in fair disillusion they too account substantially for the Baniya population. No one competes with the Guptas and the Aggarwals of course :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Medha! I wish I knew enough Bongs to write one on them too. Will keep 'em coming :)

      Delete
  16. You could have added womaniya...

    @@@€ - 3.5 jalebis for you ^_^

    I was going to give you 4, but I have a sweet tooth, I ate it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha. Koi ni ji. Thank you te bathera twaanu :D

      Delete
  17. Awesome yaar!!. I have spent most of my life in same observation and have exact same reviews. You wont believ it, I am also Punjabi(that too Ahuja only) and more then 90% of my friends are baniya only. More over, 90% of them are CA. ROFL. Bus h best part is yet to come. I fell in love with a girl and too is baniya. But that girl doesn't belong to my native or the place where I have all my baniya gang. So you cant say had to fell for a baniya as I have baniya only around me. I fell for her in south India.Leaving that, I thought you are gonna share some interesting facts related to punjabi- baniya relation in the article. Anyway, we both share the same observation and I believe you also fond of baniya clang like m. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your surname is Ahuja; mine is too. Your name starts with S; mine does too. We think so alike. Bhaiya :')

      Delete
    2. So did you get her then? @sumit ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Delete
  18. hahaha...clearly you have spent some time observing..
    i also have lots of baniya friends and the comparison between punjabis and baniyas wont end....ever...
    anyways nice work..@@@@@@ just out of the kadhai from aggarwal sweets..
    twahdi ta changi chaandi ho gayi..!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. i am a bong brahmin....ad sadly had fallen for a baniya........ :/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Baniya's are pretty cool, man. Kya problem ho gayi tujhe?

      Delete
    2. I am with uh dude...i m wth a baniya guy...lets fight for love not for caste๐Ÿ˜”

      Delete
  20. Just wondering the amount of people jealous of bania clan is way too much.The awsomeness forced you to write this article down in jealousy...Burn ahuja burn

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just wondering the amount of people jealous of bania clan is way too much.The awsomeness forced you to write this article down in jealousy...Burn ahuja burn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goyal sir...i would like to put up a question in front of u..."what if i love a baniya boy?...what if i truely love a baniya guy...?? Will his family let him marry me?... yeah i belong to a brahmin family but really want to b with the guy and can do anything...anything. coz i really do care...is the caste more important or the love ?

      Delete
  22. All banias look alike.. dull, dark, dusty wearing all their diamond ornaments. Its like show off although they all look like chaiwalas

    ReplyDelete
  23. I remember i have a bania friend.. she married someone for money and it cleaely looks they can do anything for money. I feel they dnt live a quality life and are all the time involved in show off

    ReplyDelete

If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D