Published: June 27, 2020 2:20:44 am
When the Pandavas brought Draupadi home, Kunti was at hand to advise them to share and share alike. Modern interpreters of myth remain gainfully employed as a consequence, eternally debating if it is a reference to polyandry, which was common in some communities in ancient times. The Hinduja brothers number one less than the Pandavas and were further disadvantaged by the absence of parental guidance, but they apparently followed the nobler instincts of the Hindu undivided family. They signed a letter in 2014, declaring that assets in the name of one brother belonged to all, and that each would appoint the others executors.
Ah, executors. That means that this letter is essentially a will, though it does not begin with the traditional hair-raising phrase: “Since life is uncertain…” But Indian families will be Indian families, even if they offshore themselves in London. When life gets uncertain, a member sues. Srichand Hinduja, head of the family and owner of Hinduja Bank, told a court in 2015 that the letter did not represent his wishes.
His brothers protest that the family has always believed that “everything belongs to everyone and nothing belongs to anyone”, which sounds like a materialistic version of the mottos of Switzerland and the Three Musketeers — “All for one, and one for all.” The idea is to keep what belongs to the family within the family. A lot of stuff belongs, including a family fortune of $11.2 billion and the ownership of valuable international brands like Gulf Oil. The family’s credo is designed for the orderly transmission of property. But ironically, if it spilled out of the family into society, it would echo the thoughts of another great citizen of London, Karl Marx, and spell communism.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd