Origin of Babudom in India

 Till now I thought babu as a clerk with power of deliberation in day to day bureaucratic life. I was completely wrong. It realized me when I came across an enlightening passage from Young India written by Lala Lajpat Rai. Babu means a person in any sort of management who is a liaison between 'aam admi' and 'sarkar'.  The word actually originated from Bengalee Babu. After the Great Mutiny Britons in India sensed that they were rulers of India as India does not know how to rule. They were not Indian rulers but they were Britons. The new railways reserved first class compartments for whites only. Public restrooms were marked as "European" and "Native". In some churches Indian Christians were not allowed to sit in the cooler parts of the church or under fans. They seemed this policy as the best way to avoid social discord or another mutiny as well as it ensured that whites and only whites remained in charge. This exclusivity of theirs gave a chance to educated men from provinces like Bombay, Madras and Bengal. Many posts required knowledge on English. Bengal was one of the very first provinces ruled by British (British ruled Bengal from 1758) many Bengalees were readily available to fill these posts. Soon the English knowing Bengalees spread over the whole of North India. Here is excerpt from Young India to give native Indian's perception of these Bengalee Babus:
They were pioneers in every department of governmental activity and were looked to, both by the rulers and the people, for advice and guidance (Sounds familiar, right? Looks like we are reading about people from PMs office). His position under government filled him with pride and his gratitude and loyalty were overflowing.He relieved the British officer much from his intellectual work and left him ample time to play and rest. Many a departmental head ruled the country with with brain of the "Bengalee Babu". The Bengalee Babu worshipped the Firanghee as maay baap and began to imitate in his tastes. Gradually he became very fond of Enlish literature and began to think as an Englishman thought. The bengalees were first to send their sons to England for education and to compete for I.C.S (Indian Civil Services) and IMS (Indian Medical Services (Now if a word Babu is mentioned I know its not to refer to a clerk but it is a reference to IAS officers, the policymakers in India. Duh!). In England they lived in freedom but in India they were still considered as a 'nigger'. 
First generation of Bengalees was thus anglicised through and through. they looked down upon their own religion and glorified in being 'Sahibs'. Some of them became christians. Fair amount of bengalees though refused to be carried down stream, and inspite of their English education stuck to their own religion.  These veterans laid down the foundation of modern Bengalee literature. They wanted to pour their knowledge into their own mother tongue and in order to enlarge the vocabulary of Bengalee, they studied Sanskrit. Thus inspite of Anglicization of first Bengalee generation there grew up class of men imbued with nationalistic tendencies. Ram Mohan Roy, founder of the Brahmo Samaj, was the first builder of modern India.
The Bangalees were indispensable in every department. The heads of department always were English but the head of ministerial establish generally were Bengalees. The British laid down policies and gave order; the English knowing Indians saw that they were carried out. 
The British left after 15th Aug 1947 but left the Babus in India. The era of this babudom is yet to end. It will not end till the leaders of this country do not maintain the exclusivity maintained by the British. The more the leader has z-security the more he becomes important in Indian politics and the more he becomes detached from the aam admi. And the Babu-Raj thus continues.


Anonymous said...

cool........ata mala samajla babu mhanje kaye........thnks for sharing it. keep blogging and smiling :)

Asaa mee said...

I feel that babu's are baboons handled very tactfully by english sarkar.now the "big babu's" are handling the sarkar.the origin of babudom lies in the society, who donot want to carry physical works.the Enlish ,very rightly chosen the Brahmins for this job.If we look in to the history,the chhatrapatis were the RURALS but the policies were decided by brahmin babus.Why to go so far.just see the position of brahmins in Indian politics.It is dominated by these babus,not bengali now but UPsiders .most of the P M ARE BRAHMINS. mOST Of the chhatrapatis (presidents) are non brahmins.now might have kwown the"MAHIMA" of babus & their bamboos.

Anonymous said...

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- Norman

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