Kolkata is the land of Bengalis—this is a fact that is known to everyone. But how many of us know about the fact that other than Bengalis, it is the Marwaris who make up for a huge population in Kolkata? The Marwaris are traders who originally hail from Marwar (the desert region of Rajasthan), who, for business purposes, have spread far and wide in India. However, it is Kolkata where you will find innumerable Marwaris settled for generations—what’s the reason behind it? Let’s view a few of them—
The Marwaris came and settled in Bengal much before the British settled here. Jagat Seth was a chief right-hand-man of Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daullah. In fact, he was the one who managed all the economy and accounts related manner of the state under the Nawab.
This shows how much dependent the Marwaris were in matters related to money and economy. After all, you cannot just depend on any random person in these matters—and, if it’s a Marwari who’s your money manager, then you can never have losses.
Bengalis are often seen as genteel personalities who are always steeped in literature, art, and culture, and not so suave about matters of money and business. Earlier, if some Bengali guy wanted to do some business, his parents would be in a shock for months! Yes, that was the condition. To fill this lag, the Marwaris came into the scenario. It is, in fact, they who build most of the non-catholic institutions in Kolkata.
If one Marwari settles in some distant land and achieves success, then he would invariably call his peers, and even friends! If possible, he would call all the other Marwaris on earth, such is their fraternity. Sadly, we’re not equating, the Bengalis don’t have this quality, as a result of this, the Marwaris are able to spread their business far and wide in Kolkata.
Although, in most cases, you’ll find a Bengali complaining against the Marwaris, they are generally tolerant of the latter’s “invasion” of Bengal. No matter how irritated a Bengali seems over them, you’d find most of the Bengali children going to the prestigious Marwari-made schools. No matter how much the Bengalis hate the Marwaris, they’d never dare to raise any voice against the latter. It is, as if, the Bengalis have opened their arms wide to welcome the Marwaris. Also, it’s a love-hate relationship that they’re entangled in: both have to talk against each other in spite of being dependent on each other in almost all professional cases.
In bygone ages, Kolkata was a very important port (still now, it is). So, naturally trade and commerce was very well developed in this part of India. Traders from Java, Sumatra and Bali would come to Kolkata for trade and commerce. And, as said earlier, the Bengalis are the least business-minded people on the surface of the earth, so, there was a community needed who would be able to get all the benefits of trade. Hence, came in the Marwaris, and slowly but steadily, flourished almost an empire in here.
Although business minded and strict, Marwaris are generally very friendly people who would do anything to keep their customers and subordinates happy. They are a clan who would never raise their voices upon you, if you’re a senior (in age as well as in experience). If you’re working under them, and working quite efficiently, they would go to any extent to keep you happy—they would take care of not only you but also of your entire family. Besides, if you come across any problem—personal or professional—they would make it a point to hear you out and do the needful.
The Marwaris might have their own festivals and rituals, but they would never smirk at yours (unlike many others)! Their goodness lies in their tolerance of the faith of each and every subordinate they have. This is surely a winner, especially in Bengal, where people are believed to celebrate 13 festivals in 12 months!