Proverbs against Brahmins and Baniyas- Part 1 (Post No.3052)

brahmins, museum.jpg

Compiled by london swaminathan

Date: 11th    August 2016

Post No. 3052

Time uploaded in London :– 18-28

( Thanks for the Pictures)




(for old articles go to OR



Maxims and Proverbs

Sanskrit and Tamil languages are rich in proverbs. In Greece, Plato, Aristotle and Theophrastus are believed to have collected proverbs of their day. Many of Lucian’s wittiest sayings are pointed from the same armoury.

In the later middle age both Erasmus and Scaliger made collections of classical proverbs.

Voltaire illustrated the distinction between a maxim and a proverb when he said of Boileau’s poetry that one finds in it some expressions which has passed into proverbs and others which deserve to rank as maxims.

Maxims are elevated, wise and useful; they are made for the witty and appeal to cultivated taste. Proverbs on the other hand are for the vulgar, for the common man, whom one meets in all ranks of society.


The grammarian Donatus insists that it must fit the facts and the period; the philologist Festus, looking on the etymology of the word, lays stress on its quality, a guide I the business of life.


A modern writer who is impressed by both the brevity and by the selfish and heartless tone of many proverbs describes them as the “algebra of materialism”. To escribe proverbs as the algebra, od popular pessimism will be nearer to the truth.


According to Bochart, “A proverb is a saying current among the people which sets forth in thoroughly popular language, and with studied brevity, a truth acknowledged by all. By the side of it we may place Rivarol’s opinion that proverbs represent the fruits of popular experience and, as it were, the common-sense of all ages compressed into a formula.


John Russel gave the best definition for proverbs when he said “The wisdom of many and the wit of one”.


In India there are proverbs against all castes; they convey a vivid impression of the anxieties, the troubles, the annoyances, and the humours of his daily life.



Anti Brahmin Proverbs:-

1.Brahmin- A thing  with a string round its neck ( a profane hit at the sacred thread).

2.A priest by appearance, a butcher at heart, the chief of a trio of tormentors gibbeted in the rhyming proverb:-

Is duniya men tiin kasaai

Pisu, Khatmal, Brahman Bhai


Blood-suckers three on earth there be,

The bug, the Brahman and the flea.


3.Before the Brahman starves the king’s larder will be empty; cakes must be given to him while the children f the house may lick the grindstone for a meal.

4.His stomach is a bottomless pit; he eats so immoderately that he dies from wind.

5.He will beg with a lakh of rupees in his pocket, and a silver begging bowl in his hand.

6.In his greed for funeral fees he spies out corpses like a vulture, and rejoices in the misfortune of his clients.

7.A village with a Brahmin in it is like tank full of crabs.

8.If a snake has to be killed the Brahmin should be set to do it, for no one will miss him.

9.If circumstances compel you to perjure yourself, why swear on the head of your son, when there is Brahmin handy?

10.Vishnu gets the barren prayers while the Brahmin devours the offerings.


baniya shop


Anti Baniya Proverbs

The next most prominent figure in our gallery of popular portraits is that of the Baniya, moey-lender, grain-dealer and monopolist, who dominates the material world as the Brahman does the spiritual.

1.Baniya’s heart is no bigger than a coriander seed.

2.He has the jaws of an alligator and a stomach of wax

3.He is less to be trusted than a tiger, a scorpion, or a snake

4.Baniya goes in like a needle and comes out like a sword.

5.As a neighbour he is as bad as boil in the armpit.

6.If a Baniya is on the other side of the river you should leave your bundle on this side and, for fear he should steal it.

7.When four Baniyas meet, they rob the whole world

8.If a Baniya is drowning you should not give him a hand; he is sure to have some base motive for drifting down stream.

  1. He uses light weights and swears that the scales tip themselves

10.He keeps his account in a character that no one but God can read.

11.If you borrow from him your debt mounts up like a rubbish hill.

There are many more proverbs about Brahmins and Baniyas.

Tomorrow I will give some more proverbs against other castes.

These were recorded 100 years ago in the book:

The People of India by Sir Herbert Risely, London, 1915.


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