Demonetisation – A festival of honesty; but where are the laddoos?

November 23, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Delhi, November 23, 2016: November and December are the busiest months of the year for weddings: an atmosphere of festivities full of delicious food and mouth-watering sweets. I confess, I am a sucker for Indian sweets. A festive occasion is never complete in India without the king of sweets – the “Laddoo”.

For the past two weeks, however, the entire nation has been celebrating a totally different occasion: the “festival of honesty” as declared by the Minister of State for Power.

Of course, citizens have resonated this call with full enthusiasm and good spirit by coming out on the streets all day long and most times continuing throughout the nights. It is commendable, one call and the entire nation responded – men & women alike putting their differences of caste, colour, creed, religion, or region aside.

People are out on streets with a resolve: Eradicate corruption from its roots; flash out all the black money and wipe-out 0.025% of counterfeit currency that has wounded our gun-clad soldiers being hit by the unarmed but paid terrorists hurling stones at them, a thought which is rather un- ‘pellet’-able but we are told it is true!

Apparently, our soldiers are having nightmares and are unable to protect themselves; they need help of the mighty civilians to protect them from stones being hurled at them by the terrorist funded through counterfeit currency. There is a firm belief that this nation will soon be free of any terrorism: No counterfeit currency = No terrorism.

After all, it is the thread of Nationalism that has been binding the mighty civilians, out to fix the nation at any cost: it is in the interest of the Nation.

Shame, the rich and elite of the society are playing bit of a spoiled sport and don’t want to participate in the festivities: bit of a damp squib! Hey; can’t make everyone happy.

As I write, the festivities are continuing and there seems to be no imminent end in sight – in fact, no one can guess when will this jubilation end. For me it evokes similar feelings as people had during the diamond jubilee celebration of Queen Elizabeth in London. Everyone has been looking forward to the event and have even taken the time off the work, flashing out their hard-earned money ready to spend lavishly. Fun & frolics is all around and people can’t seem to get enough of it.

They keep coming out of their houses every morning (of course only those who return home), some prefer to stay out during the nights – just like the sleep-overs or pyjama parties, we used to have during the school days. Eid and Diwali are no more as interesting and do not command same turn-out.

Regrettably, we are unbale to bring you any live images of the event due to a Total Media Ban.

The entire event has been defined by an infamous reporter as Baaghon Mein Bahaar Hai

Such mega festivals hardly go by without an unsavoury incident or two. Unfortunately, the festival authorities did report some minor medical incidents that were very efficiently taken care of and that too free of charge by very understanding and compassionate medical professionals at the local hospitals. The Emergency Service Index (ESI) – a triage tool for an emergency department care had labelled the incidences as either:

Minor Inconvenience – due to loss of only 70+ (circa) lives & still rising – including children; or Temporary Pain – Kadak Chai for elderly collapsing due to exhaustion or cardiac arrest and they were ready to rest in peace.

I suppose any collateral damage is acceptable – it is good for the Nation.

Peculiarly,the entire festive event still has no Laddoos to be seen!

Try and do anything good, you will always find some critics and trolls who will neither do any good nor can see anyone doing good. It is but obvious, there have been complaints and allegations that people are out to serve their own self-interest since demonetisation of 86% of the currency has rendered their hard-earned worthless. Hence, people are out only to either exchange their cash savings or withdraw money from their bank accounts. Hard to believe.

Anyway, demonetisation reminds me of sheep who cheered when their leader promised them a blanket each until one of the sheep asked; where will the wool come from? The cheering was rather short lived!

Impact of the “Festival of Honesty”

· 70+ Deaths in first 14 days and rising;
· 11 Bankers dead;
· Ordinary poor and homeless starving to death;
· Men, women, young, old, pensioners and disabled standing in long queues for the past ten days;
· They are humiliated and forced to beg for their own hard-earned money to be exchanged;
· Small traders have lost their daily business;
· Daily labourers have no jobs and those lucky to find can’t be paid due no liquidity;
· Virtually impossible for small cash based traders to manage without liquidity;
· Planned weddings must be either cancelled or postponed;
· Farmers struggling to find money to buy new seeds for new crop;
· Created new black marketers/touts busy converting black money to white outside the banks;
· One would expect the rich and elite of the society to be rattled but they are nowhere to be seen;

Yes, it is true that the Nation is going through the labour pains but it is an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy with no certainty of a safe delivery.

Surprisingly, all this has happened and continuing with almost no end in sight. In the past, Indians have resorted to violent protest to show their displeasure. However, on this occasion there has been no violent protest or vandalism. An amazing display of patience and understanding.

Old habits die hard! Behaviours do not change overnight so, how does one explain this remarkable display of endurance by the public?

May be the Indian public has matured or is it that the role of the pro-government paid Trolls has reversed on this occasion?

Instead of creating trouble, perhaps this time their mandate is to ensure that there is no trouble. Nobody dares to criticize demonetisation. Any resentment among public is mooted out through intimidation. Any anger or backlash does not translate into a violent protest. Ensure that only positive aspects are reported by the media or….!

Neither people can criticise the demonetisation policy nor can complain about the inconveniences and problems that they are facing, whilst standing in the long queues day and night.

On the contrary, they must also keep chanting the mantra: “it is only a temporary inconvenience but it is good for the nation”

Except for very few, the entire Public, Traders; Farmers; Media and Politicians are completely MuM!

One simple explanation offered to the critics is that there a majority public support (internet opinion polls) for the demonetisation policy. Does it mean it is also the right decision? Even Hitler enjoyed majority support of the Germans (victims of Nazi propaganda of Nationalism).

A Lie doesn’t become Truth, Wrong doesn’t become Right, And Evil doesn’t become Good; Just because it is Accepted by a Majority – Rick Warren

An atmosphere, where the media is expected to be pro-government or face broadcasting ban, social media abuse and hostilities during their field reporting is extremely intimidating for an honest press, let alone for the poor public.

If national media can be threatened by the motor-bike mounted pro-government Trolls, in an open public place whilst the cameras are rolling then what are the chances of a weaker section of the society speaking up or voicing their concerns?

A large section of the media has been reduced to mere ‘mouthpiece’ of the government.

Politicians and their parties are the primary source of corruption, their survival hinges upon the donations of black money and BJP leads the pack of all parties. Do the people expect corrupt politicians to eradicate corruption?

Corruption is in our DNA! It cannot be removed by an eight minute’s speech. It is a slow change over generations that requires social awakening, education, changed attitudes, good characters and above all social justice. People have to change themselves first!

During these dark hours, only a statement from honourable Supreme Court has come as a breath of fresh air, when the Apex Court observed “There are difficulties. You can’t dispute that. We will have riots on the streets”

In the meantime, the ‘Con is On’.

– tcn

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