Ambani pre-wedding: Feudalism and the capitalist overlords of ‘New India’ 

India now counts among the most right-wing countries in the world, with all the classic markers of fascism emblazoned with a leering smugness across the faces of its elite and so-called ‘middle-class’. The ongoing charade of the Anant Ambani pre-wedding brings to light several of its interconnected rightwing maladies.


The first is the mindless worship of money and the power it confers as a birthright upon the wealthy. India has gone into a neoliberal overdrive and has been hawking public resources and infrastructure for capitalist looting, naming this unconscionable theft as ‘monetization pipeline’, ‘business development’, ‘improving services’, and whatnot. Everything from education to healthcare to natural resources has been privatized at breakneck speed in service of private profits.

 Those who have amassed their obscene mounds of ill-gotten wealth are praised as job creators and hard workers for supposedly throwing some scraps under the table by way of unstable and highly exploitative private jobs. India is the picture of an average failed banana republic in the way that it is dancing to the egotism and gaudy flashiness of an oligarch who wants to give his son the biggest, fattest Indian wedding anywhere ever.

And so, the resources of the Indian government itself have been pressed into service to convert the Jamnagar Airport into an international airport for 10 days, just to facilitate the supposed ‘dignitaries’ coming in to ‘celebrate’ the wedding, when it is plain as day that this is the hobnobbing of an extremely rich and powerful international class of oligarchs and a coterie of plastic entertainers who are made gods unto themselves in the name of being ‘celebrities’: a hobnobbing whose bill is to be footed by us the peasants leering at awe at the luxuries of the aristocrats, wiping away tears of gratitude to all that Ambani and other corporate overlords have done for the country. (Consider the seething defence of Narayan Murthy’s 70-hour workweek comments)

If doing something for the country brought the same rewards to everyone as it does to Ambani, then we would not see Vakil Hassan’s house demolished and his wife and children assaulted and thrown in the street. We would not see medal-winning sportspersons reduced to penury or face daily public humiliation to secure justice against sexual assault. We would not be putting professors in jail without trial and would not be smearing and shaming a BSF jawan who exposed corruption and neglect of rank-and-file soldiers.

image 1

The Indian oligarchy is credited with banishing the darkness of ‘socialism’ (a horrible misnomer for what actually existed in pre-liberalization India) and bringing in the sweet fruits of the paradise of the free market. In reality, the so-called ‘success’ and ‘public good’ attributed to, say, Reliance Jio is built off the back of massive public investment and support. The story of private telecom players piggybacking on public infrastructure to produce private profits is just a drop in this ocean. Don’t believe me, ask ChatGPT, the darling of today’s techies.

There isn’t even a semblance of the republican spirit or even lip service to Constitutional values of equality among citizens and checks on money as a pathway to unlimited power. It is simply the regime of ‘might makes right’. When you have this much money to throw, the system will bend to your will too: that is what the regime’s internet propagandists say to shut down criticisms of the obscenity that is underway right now. I would like to know what is the procedure by which I can apply to have an airport repurposed or reserved for family functions in the way Ambani can. The Noida Metro (NMRC) announced a facility to book railway coaches for gatherings and parties in 2020, and while I still consider it cringeworthy, it was, at the very least, open to all. But Adani’s privilege seems to be a regal prerogative which commoners like us can only dream of. And dream we do. At the end of a heated argument with a friend over this, he said paisa ho toh aisa (if I am to have money, let me have it like this).

 Will we ever see a detailed and audited bill of reimbursement that Ambani or Reliance has paid out to the government for all the expenses and manpower wasted to facilitate this entirely private event? Or are we at the stage of explicitly admitting what Marxists like me take as a fundamental truth, that the government is quite literally owned and run by the ruling class of upper castes and capitalists?

The other right-wing aspect of this gaudy wedding celebration is the feudal mindset and rampant casteism of Indian society. Looking at the propaganda blitz, one may easily conclude that we are witnessing the royal wedding of a prince of India and not just another citizen. What was the point of abolishing royal privileges like the privy purse or creating hype about the integration of princely states post-independence when we are perfectly fine with glorifying petty rulers and monarchs of the past and treating the oligarchs of the present like modern-day royalty?  

To put it more accurately, this spectacle represents the feudal and casteist structures of Indian society which are not only intact but are growing ever stronger under the present regime.  The intense PR campaign of the various rituals and public appearances that the family is engaging in puts them on a pedestal, in sync with the patronizing superiority that upper castes display to the lower caste masses. The institution of ‘traditional’ marriage is also a mechanism of ensuring that social and economic capital stays within families and communities through the patriarchal exchange of women’s bodies from father to husband. The fact that the Indian State is endorsing this shows its ideological commitment to the institutionalization of marriages, which are overwhelmingly ‘arranged’ between families and do not consider the aspect of love, romance, intimacy, or compatibility between two consenting adults. The State has repeatedly come out in favour of legalized raping of wives and against live-in relationships and homosexual marriage, which shows that it has stakes in maintaining the patriarchal and casteist nature of marriage as an institution.

This Twitter thread about the pampering and privileges afforded to Anant Ambani when he was growing up may be unverified anecdotes, but by themselves, its claims do not seem that hard to believe. We live in a culture where social displays of wealth, connections, and religiosity are paramount. Such flashy displays of wealth and power pay off, at least when it comes to the so-called middle class who would rather foster delusions of becoming the next Ambani than own up to the fact that their personal values, and those of society at large, need to change urgently.  

Arjun Banerjee is a writer and political commentator. He is a postgraduate in English literature from the University of Delhi. He writes about current events and culture

Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

The Lost Ethical Dimension

What immediately follows news breaks reporting yet another attack on a Muslim peddler or Muslim milkman on his way back from a fairground with a newly acquired cow,is usually analysis…

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News