Indian to the Core, and an Oligarch

Anand Giridharadas in the New York Times:

Screenhunter_03_jul_19_0750In the last century, Mohandas K. Gandhi was India’s most famous and powerful private citizen. Today, Mr. Ambani is widely regarded as playing that role, though in a very different way. Like Mr. Gandhi, Mr. Ambani belongs to a merchant caste known as the modh banias, is a vegetarian and a teetotaler and is a revolutionary thinker with bold ideas for what India ought to become.

Yet Mr. Gandhi was a scrawny ascetic, a champion of the village, a skeptic of modernity and a man focused on spiritual purity. Mr. Ambani is a fleshy oligarch, a champion of the city, a burier of the past and a man who deftly — and, some critics say, ruthlessly — wields financial power. He is the richest person in India, with a fortune estimated in the tens of billions of dollars, and many people here expect that he will be the richest person on earth before long.

More here.