Book Review: Heads You Win

Valmiki Jayanthi - an enjoyable day for Bangalore Bankers

It is a Bank holiday today (18 Oct 2013).  Why?  Valmiki Jayanthi.  Is it that same Valmiki who wrote Ramayana?  Yes, indeed.  Now why are we observing his birthday as a holiday every year? On probing further, I realize it is not a holiday all over India, but in select States.  Karnataka is one of them.

It is a holiday under Negotiable Instruments Act.  This is an Act passed by British India in 1881 - imagine we are using this to declare our Government public holidays.  Here is the IBA notification for Karnataka.

When you look at the holidays, you realize that there is a bunch of them related to individuals.

  • Mahaveer Jayanthi (hey, I already wrote about this one)
  • Mahatma Gandhi Jayanthi
  • Maharishi Valmiki Jayanthi
  • Kanakadasa Jayanthi  
  • Ambedkar Jayanthi (oh so sad - it is on a Sunday this time)

These are not religious holidays.  If we exclude Gandhi Jayanthi, it is evident that the other holidays have been declared just to appease certain communities.   In this particular case, from Wikipedia Balmiki 
a dalit sect of Hinduism.

And boy, there are 24 Bank holidays (excluding 3 which fell on Sundays) - almost one every fortnight!