With a trading tradition that goes back to the days of camel caravans, Memons are, he says approvingly, “the Jews of Muslims,” and a fixture on Wall Street. Ditto Punjabis, who hail from the region straddling the India-Pakistan border, have long dominated India’s military, and tend to drift toward risk-taking fields like finance. (Prominent Punjabi-American bankers include MasterCard’s CEO Ajay Banga, who headed consumer banking at Citigroup.) “They’re physically less timid,” says Garg, who contrasts Punjabi freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, who “wanted to kill the English,” with the measured, nonviolent Mahatma Gandhi, who was Gujarati—a group less prevalent in finance.
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