Thursday, November 24, 2016

India On Usury

Like most reformers, Gandhi worried about just replacing British abusers with Indian abusers.  Certainly he watched Ireland descend into civil war after "gaining" its independence.  I'll say it again, I'd love to see India a world class competitor as India, not faux-Britain.

 But even the British don't do this:
The government is going after not only imports, but also information held by the nation’s jewellers. “Already, 600 jewellers have received notices from the tax department to disclose their sales till November 8. We are aware that certain members of the trade are importing gold only to sell the same against old notes at a hefty premium. So, if the government wants to stop this malpractice it might consider a ban on imports. Alternately, if it directs all jewellers to deposit or declare old notes by November 15, it would not necessarily consider banning imports.”
An associate studying Sanskrit in Paris sends me this:
 I came across the section on credit rules and loans in the major reference work on Hindu law : P.V. Kane's History of Dharmashastra (Law Treatise). I've attached the relevant volume, the part on usury starts page 417 (pdf page 463). It seems like it was originally outlawed, described as worse a crime than killing a Brahman, but later of course they make allowances for it and set the rates and terms etc. But the Greek envoy Megasthenes (circca 300 BC) writes that the Hindus knew no money-lending - somewhat improbable, as there is even a whole Vedic hymn on gambling debtors. ​
Indeed, page 464 contends that usury is a great sin, up there with killing a Brahmin.  It is even asserted indians do not know how to borrow or lend.  That reminds me of Paramahansa Yogananda asserting in Autobiography of a Yogi that lying is rare in India.  Unlikely.  India is like any other place in vice, etc, but I am pleased to add that they too abjure usury.  it is not unique to monotheism.

Gold is money, and control of money is not a good idea as a government function.  India's past suggests a great future.

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