Baniya is a word that has become very common in our everyday speak. Heard mostly in the markets, the word “baniya” is associated with traders or the business-class people who are typically experts in number-crunching activities and trading. The Baniya clan, blessed with a commercially bent mind, has some typical characteristics that make them unique.
We have listed the seven different qualities that you will often see in Baniyas.
The ‘bizness’ Gene
Baniyas are almost born with the business DNA. Kids learn the tricks of running a successful business very early. So when they grow up, they become masters at making profits. One of the richest men in the world, Lakshmi Mittal, is a Baniya who learnt all about the steel industry in his youth and today is a steel tycoon with an income of $31.1 billion! Most of India’s richest men belong to the Baniya clan. Mukesh Ambani with earnings amounting to $27 billion and Shashi and Ravi Ruia, earning $15.8 billion, are cases in point. Their inherent skills make them successful in business and accounting. These are the two preferred options that they you will often find a Baniya prospering in.
The ‘riks’ Takers
Risk-taking abilities are instilled at a very young age in a Baniya. You give a Baniya a problem, they will come up with a solution. Emami is a classic case to prove this point. Two friends, Radheshyam Agarwal and Radheshyam, quit their high-profile jobs and set up Kemco Chemicals, an ayurvedic medicines and cosmetics manufacturing unit, with a meagre capital of Rs 20,000 in 1974 in Calcutta. In 1978, Himani Ltd, run by the Banerjee family, had become sick unit and was up for sale. Mr. Agarwal realized the opportunity and acquired Himani, despite it being an enormously risky venture for such a young organization. However, that decision proved golden as the two friends fought against labour problems and political unrest in Bengal and turned Himani (later Emami Industries) into a profit-making company with products selling not only in India but also internationally.
Baniyas are strict on keeping their balance sheets up-to-date every day. For them, balance sheets are like the pillars that keep any good foundation on a stronghold. Unlike any other companies that believe in concentrating on business administration, the Baniyas are hawk-like accounts. This is the secret to their ever-flourishing business.
Only Money, honey
They are business-minded people and never miss out on opportunities to make money. And, this is the reason that you will find them 24X7 involved in nothing but business. They can smell a profit-making venture from afar. They are single-mindedly focused on their business almost at the cost of not having a social life.
Baniyas can be quite stingy by nature and not exactly known for their philanthropic activities. However, they do splurge when it comes to weddings in their family. Marriages in their community are lavish affairs and they leave no stone unturned to help their children have a one-of-a-kind wedding.
Baniyas are a closely knit community and they adhere to their clan’s unwritten rules very strictly. Very rarely do we find any Baniya marrying outside his community and even if one does so, it is considered a big offence and may lead to disinheritance. They believe that the one should marry within the community so that the wealth stays within.
Irrespective of their many strict community rules, Baniyas are adept in adapting themselves to today’s fast-changing lifestyle and remain abreast in understanding the dynamics of the world.
Do you think we missed out something about this great Indian community? Let us know in you comments and we will list them in the next edition.