And finally it’s over. The madness which began at 8 PM on 8th November 2016 has come to its “announced” end. It will still be many months before the media finally shuts up on this issue but the time Narendra Modi had formally asked for from Indians is finally over.
These past few days were quite an experience in many ways, the sort we will tell our children & their children after that! I got to hear the most varied reactions to this move by the Government & learnt quite a lot about our netas, our janta & even my friends. Here I share a few of my observations:
- Demonetization was the ONLY thing people talked about. Births, deaths, weddings, TV shows, news, newspapers, social networking sites…everyone everywhere talked only of demonetization.
- Many people passionately believed in two immediate effects of demonetization. Post demonetization, India will either sink to complete bankruptcy or will usher in the golden age where no one lies, cheats or steals.
- There is an economist hidden in all of us. After 8th November every one of us is guilty of having turned into an expert in financial matters at least once. Students, daily labourers, domestic help, farmers, politicians who couldn’t even get the pronunciation right, basically everyone. Yes, I too have been guilty of it I admit. 🙂
- The hate for Narendra Modi is so great that people will ensure that they protest against everything he does. By the same logic, for some, demonetization is a bad move because he has done it.
- ‘If BJP loses in the upcoming municipal council elections, blame it on Modi’s demonetization move. If they win, that really means nothing & shouldn’t be linked to demonetization!’ This is in no way a sarcastic statement but a way of life for many news reporters since 2014. If anything goes wrong blame it exclusively on Modi. If anything goes right, ah well it is not as if Modi did everything alone.
- People will quote Washington Post, New York Times, Greek analysts (wrongly!!), Sputnik, and even Huffington Post to show you how the Yankees, Russians & British think this move was a blunder & will cause great losses to India. People who couldn’t predict who their own people would elect as President, people who couldn’t predict BREXIT, people who couldn’t predict their own recession would of course know what will happen in India. Totally reliable sources these!! And no one can deny that Russia & the world in 1991 is the same as India & the world in 2016.
- People decided that Rahul Gandhi/ Arvind Kejriwal or some local goon masquerading as a politician will get their votes come 2019 because NaMo doesn’t have any sense about running this country. Why…because demonetization. And why RaGa/ AK you ask? I don’t know since I didn’t bother asking because if there is one thing I do know its this: nothing can ever convince me that Rahul Gandhi & co would make an ideal PM. And so what if NaMo has done other good things & so what if RaGa & co are only fit to star in memes & YouTube videos consolidating all their “oops” moments. But RaGa is the one with the right surname! And AK is an IITian! And this I heard from a group of educated people. Had it been a bunch of illiterates I would have understood their haste in slamming Modi & running to RaGa/ AK but well clearly education & literacy are not the same thing. Hate NaMo all you want, but supporting RaGa/ AK because of Modi hate is stupid according to me.
- Surprisingly TV channels can get economists who will criticize demonetization. But neither NaMo nor his Government nor any of the self proclaimed unbiased media houses could get an economist who could support this demonetization? At least I wasn’t lucky enough to see an unbiased discussion. What sort of a debate has one person pro – Demonetization & five against it?
- Big words were used by political giants to scare the common man. Draconian, bankruptcy, tughlaqi, emergency, loot, etc. Our very own very honourable Supreme Court even used the most feared word: riots. But surprisingly not many fell for this jumlebaazi (another word which is used to describe NaMo :)) of the opposition. Why? Because Indians do not fear physical hardships. Because they trust NaMo’s intentions. Read this in an article: A woman standing in a queue outside a bank in Punjab said to the reporter, ‘people will forget how long they stood in the queues, but every time they look at these new 500 & 2000 notes, they will remember we had a leader who fought against black money’.
- Apparently if you do not support demonetization you are anti – national! Who would have thought. You cannot be ill informed or just a plain Modi hater. Nope! You are directly promoted to being anti – national
- People always thought that bank employees were a lazy lot & the corrupt tag belonged solely to sarkari babus. But nope! Now some bank officers can proudly share the corrupt tag with our sarkari babus for they have been caught turning black money white for a hefty commission. I wish these people were tried for treason & not fraud!
- A friend of mine has stopped talking to me. Reason? Demonetization 🙂 I supported NaMo & he called him Tughlaq. After that he stopped talking to me completely because I have no idea how the poor suffer. Not that he has any idea either since he isn’t poor. But as is the trend, let me say I lost a friend because of Modi 😦
- The media usually stops discussing a subject when it can dig its claws into something more juicy. Not this time. Neither the death of a much loved politician, nor the unearthing of the scams done by the UPA nor a freaking cyclone could divert the media’s attention from demonetization.
- Apparently if your Twitter account is hacked, it can never ever be because of your own stupidity. It is because either Twitter was lax in its security measures OR because digitization is not safe in India! Mostly the latter. 🙂 Also the protection levels of a bank’s server is the same as that of Twitter & the email accounts of news channels. So what if someone picks my pocket? Should I stop using cash & start bartering goods? Till my goods are stolen of course…Not to be missed in all these baseless accusations was the underlying “NaMo NaMo” chant with some openly saying BJP is hacking into opposition servers & implying that they are doing it under Modi’s directive.
- ATMs can give you STDs! I really wonder what these people do in that ATM kiosk.
- Immediately after the announcement on 8th Nov, railway & flight bookings saw a phenomenal spike. Individuals were booking tickets from all over India to all over India. What the Government did next left the honest man cackling for hours.
- 90% India doesn’t have a bank proudly said the people who ruled India for nearly 60 years. Surprisingly no one brought up this issue when gas subsidies were given out. Didn’t anyone care that poor Indians in these areas won’t be getting their gas subsidy due to lack of banks? And of course Post Offices which were working along with the banks during demonetization can be forgotten because its not convenient to remember the market penetration of Indian Postal Services.
- Any deaths that happen from 8th Nov 2016 to 30th Dec 2016 will be pinned by the media on demonetization. Some even said BJP = Modi is responsible for Jayalalithaa’s death as they wanted to capture the state & Amma was an hindrance.
- You might be a rich or a middle class person. But since 8th Nov 2016 most of us have experienced the pain of the poor! How? Not that we know any poor farmer or labourer personally. But we can understand how badly they must have suffered. Our understanding capabilities have multiplied phenomenally during this period. Of course when the PM had introduced Jan Dhan Yojana our sympathy & love for the poor had gone for a toss as we joined the snooty elites in slamming Modi’s move for just brainlessly increasing the workload of the poor bank employee. We also mocked him when he asked us to give up our gas subsidy for the benefit of the poor…but well these are two different things!
- We all want an end to the black money. As long as we don’t have to work for it. God forbid if we have to stand in a queue. I thought when I elected Modi it would be he who does all the work while I watch it on TV & nod or shake my head at his decisions. But he is making me work! For the betterment of my country?!! How dare he! The UPA government was so much better. It did nothing. We did nothing.
- Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, I observed it were the young men & women who found it most difficult to stand in a queue. The old stood in sun & rain alike but the youth complained the most. Guess the experience the older generation had of standing in queues for water & ration paid off.
- Every Indian dreams of the day when India will retaliate against terrorism. But the effect of demonetization on terrorism has been underplayed & least discussed of all. We cannot place two & two together lest the sum is not to our liking & we find demonetization might have done some good in countering terrorists. So we will ignore it & continue with how the poor suffer 🙂 So if the stone pelting has stopped, chances are it was never happening in the first place OR maybe Pakistan has had a change of heart? But no, it cannot have anything to do with demonetization. Where is the proof?
- Apparently the muslims & dalits suffer more! They say they are the minority, they say they do not get a decent house to stay in India because of the anti – muslim sentiment prevalent in the country. But now we hear there are entire areas of muslims (meaning either they are all muslims there or muslims are in majority) where the bank ATMs are purposely kept empty so that the muslims suffer. Can we at least be consistent in our lies?
- While vegetable vendors & chaatwalas (whom we generally assume to be illiterate) started using PayTM the CAs & doctors still accept ONLY CASH.
- Read this on Twitter: There are hotels in LAVASA where they do not accept cards or cheques. PAYTM or internet banking is out of question. They accept only cash AND they do not provide receipts. Wonder who gets the cut from all that income.
- ‘I have always been an honest & upright person. Never was I involved in black money or anything remotely illegal. Then why should I stand in queues?’ Even the man who gave black money to the builder when buying a flat, who bribed the traffic police, who gave hefty capitation fees for their children’s entry into medical & engineering colleges, who bribed sarkari babus on a regular basis said this with full confidence. And they weren’t the rich or elite. They belonged to the middle class.
- No one is asking where are our netas? The ones who come to beg for our votes when elections come, where are they? The one who won in my constituency, why isn’t he here helping me in this time of crisis? Instead of protesting outside the parliament why don’t they provide subsidized or even free food to the thousands & lakhs of people who they say are starving because of demonetization? And why is no news channel asking this? Yes it is not their duty to correct Modi’s mistakes but it would have been great PR & a great way to score some brownie points. This more than their mindless dharnas could have helped them in 2019.
It has been a crazy two months. It had all the signs of a revolution. The official trial period is now over. Now comes the time when the aam aadmi will start demanding some answers. The first question would naturally be: was it all worth it? NaMo better have something to show for the past two months of inconvenience which the sloppy planning & execution of the demonetization has caused. My best wishes to our PM as always.
I will end this post with a suggestion for the PM. Talk to the people. You are famous for your “mann ki baat” So why not have a program where you explain your rationale behind this move? Get your team with you, the select few who knew about this move before hand. Ger Mr. Anil Bokil with you for he has explained this whole demonetization, its benefits, its long & short term effects, the reasoning behind it beautifully in a Marathi program. Do anything, but do not keep quite. Your silence is being misconstrued as your acceptance of defeat. The people of India put a great deal of faith in you when they voted for you. Do not let them down by being mum when your move is hurting many who voted for you. Most of them are anyways just waiting for some explanation from you to start supporting you once again. You do not want to lose out on those loyal followers or “bhakts” as the liberal Left derisively calls them. After all his faith has always been a “bhakts” strongest & weakest point. You don’t want to hurt their faith.