benami angst

this has been in news for the last few days in andhra pradesh: white ration card holders owning liquor shop licenses. only below poverty line (bpl) families are given white ration cards in the state. this news report says:103 liquor shops owned by white ration card holders.that's more than one third of all liquor shops in that district.

how can any 'below poverty line' household manage to buy a liquor license (to run a liquor store) worth crores?

bpl families owning one third of all liquor stores in one district. and it's not just one district, news coming in from across the state indicate that nearly 30-40% of liquor stores in all districts are owned by 'bpl' families. it's obvious that many of those crorepati poor families don't actually own those stores. in fact, many of those 'owners' are not even aware that they own those stores. and many others actually work as wage earners in those stores which they are supposed to 'own'. who actually owns those stores? other people, real crorepatis and power-wielders.

so i had to dig up this old post i'd first started working on ages ago:  

and some more sputtering of prejudices provoked by uid:
Educated Indians will not accept being told that that they have “no identity” as it questions their parentage and legitimacy of birth. Aadhaar is tantamount to bastardisation of the poor and branding the poor for life, institutionalising poverty.  
read that iitian mind: educated indians are not stupid, they will not accept this gaali. but the poor might. the poor are stupid enough to accept all gaalis. people without honour....

the writer's benami indignation on behalf of the poor hides so many prejudices. the distinction he makes, between educated and poor indians (and not educated and uneducated indians), seems premised on the belief that poverty and stupidity go together. the poor are stupid. the ba^%$#ds are poor because they're stupid. the poor are poor because they're people without honour. illegitimate #$$%&^5.....

but that's the way of the meritocratic iits: we're here because we're meritorious, not because of caste or wealth. they can't get in here because they're poor, not because of caste. and if some of them do get in here, it is because of wealth and caste, not because of merit.   

you might think stupid is a better antonym of meritorious. but no, here too, 'poor' is used as a stand-in for the politically incorrect 'stupid'. you could call it a whole way of life: this endless pursuit of benamidars to bear the burden of all the greed, ambitions, fears, passions and anxieties of the brahminized classes. look at the iits themselves, a prime example of nehru's 'temples of modern india', and also the best examples of benami institutions. in name, all indians owned them, but in reality, only the brahminized classes enjoyed the privilege of studying there.

the brahminized indian always speaks through benami identities. he was a 'nationalist' when he wanted to grab power from the colonial rulers, a 'socialist' when he wanted to move from the agrarian economy to industrial jobs (and a maoist when he couldn't), a 'hindu nationalist' when he wanted to divert the focus of the mandalized bahujans away from his excessive privileges (and a 'secularist' when he couldn't). he flaunts an 'indian' identity to challenge a caste census and becomes a 'moving republic' when he wants global recognition...

one main reason why he doesn't like the uid is that it could shake the material foundations of his benami world a little. this news report says:
Industry experts say the real-estate markets in Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad see the most benami deals. Typically, in land, about 50% deals are benami, while in constructed premises, 20% are benami.
the experts are being coy. with so much land being cornered by a few, who would be wealthy enough to buy the rest (of land) at prices so artificially high? more rich indians using more clever benami identities.or another benami class of indians: indians who don't even live in india. or yet another benami class of indians: indians who live in india but don't work in india, in a way. like quite a few in the it/ites sector.. and so on. how much of india is left to indians who don't fall in any of those benami categories? very little, you could say.

you could also say the practice is more widespread, and not just geographically. all spectacular stock market scams/frauds since harshad mehta have involved hundreds if not thousands of benami identities and entities.. the number of pan cards in india is many times the number of individuals filing income tax returns: how are those excess cards being used?

the use of benami cards in the stock market is a worry. two years ago, when the 'educated' indians hadn't fully woken upto how the uid could affect their 'parentage and legitimacy of birth', lawmakers in india were contemplating how they could use uid to curb fraud in the stock market:
Large-scale fraudulent deals mostly involve entities that are financially sound and often enjoy political patronage. These entities include promoters and stakeholders of large-cap companies who do hold PAN and, hence, such deals are often consummated using accounts held in fictitious names, or benami accounts. 
“UID will help in tracking benami account holders and the transaction done through such accounts,” said an income-tax official, who did not want to be named as he is not authorized to interact with the media. 
 “For instance, even if an individual does not provide a PAN, a bank account or any transaction account can be created today just by submitting Form 16 of income tax.

Besides, many have multiple PAN cards, which can be misused. 
If UID is assigned to every individual and if it is mandatory to quote for every transaction, the account can be easily traced to the owner,” the tax official added.
that would have helped, a little, any stray lawman, if he were so inclined, to attempt to get a little closer to pulling down many benami facades hiding ill-gotten wealth. if he were so inclined. and so were his bosses.

so when the brahminized indian talks of opposing the uid because it invades his 'privacy' and questions his 'parentage' and honour, understand that he uses those terms as benami identities to hide his real concerns about 'property' and 'privilege'.


Sridhar said...

Love the title, Kuffir! Aptly captures the underlying fears of UID concept. However, surprisingly the greatest resistance isn't coming from the unscrupulous politician-businessman nexus of liquor industry nor the benami land owners. It instead comes from the 'brainy' IIT/TISS/JNU gentry. Do you think this is the case?

sandeep said...

A nice answer to brahaminical opposition for UID. Reason for the information that resistance is only from IIT/TISS/JNU instead of big businessman is that this issue did not get organized opposition from general public as that of Jan lokpal Bill because of its lesser drawbacks than later. Other reason is that businessman do not have that much of time to think about these extraneous things that is not associated with his profit but related with common man. Main thinkers (majority of upper castes, who only have their time for this humble purpose of opposition) exist in top Universities. Thus, Uid really tries to dig out the parenthood or legacy of undue ownership for property.

Prathamesh said...

I agree with all that you have to say about the block that is opposing the UID and its brahminical mindset. But I'm still not sure if UID will actually achieve all that it promises to achieve? Even the branch that is advocating UID is a brahminized one. I'm sure that Mr. Nilekani is less a casteist. One would be skeptical of any positive changes that UId would introduce if one notices the technical hitches and the fact that information will be accessible by the home ministry. Even if information is available, it would be acessed by the same brahminical elite which might not change much. I am seriously not sure if actually benami transactions will be tapped by UID. We have seen what happens when home addresses of individuals are with the government in the case of gujarat? What would happen if even fingerprints are available with the government? I'm sure dalits are harassed more by the state than brahmins are. Please shed some light on these doubts. Perhaps I am wrong.

Prathamesh said...

I meant Mr. Nilekani is not any less a casteist than say Usha Ramanathan

Jayaranjan said...

Dear Sir,Madam,
It takes very little intelligence to see the truth that all famous social reforms, philosophisies and social engineering as propounded by Marx, Lenin, Mao and in india by people like M.N.Roy,Lohia and Ambedkar has completely failed. You are all wasting your time and others by propounding these failed systems. The poor meanwhile are becoming poorer and the rich richer. Please acknowledge this first.

It is I, Mr.jayarajan Kaniyeri found out a simple mathematical solution for the uplift of downtrodden people in the Earth even without a weapon or political power. Means it is purely based on the logic of Simple Mathematics and it can be used for any Socio-Economic problems of the World. Suppose you are intersted in this matter please contact me at my mobile as 9447485603

Jai Gottimukkala said...

Kufr, Adhar is a rip-off that will be ultimately used against the downtrodden & whistleblowers.

Don't believe the claims that it is a tool against benami fraud. Far more likely that the state will use it against "alaga janam" daring to question the system.

Jai Gottimukkala said...

Kufr, please see my blog post at http://jaigottimukkala.blogspot.in/2011/11/my-first-impressions-about-adhar-card.html for a differing viewpoint.

Add to Technorati Favorites