Reams have been written on Demonetisation-economic experts have waxed eloquent upon various facets which go above my head most of the time.Today our ex PM -Manmohan Singh, Who made ‘Khamoshi’ a virtue Totting out shaiyri when nation demanded he speaks-spoke finally repeating his RS assertion that Demonetisation was ‘Organised loot and plunder’ . This eloquence prompted me to pen down my side of Demonetisation -a simple citizen’s view.
8 PM 8 November 2016–is a moment etched in my memory and in present day India’s too.I distinctly remember the disbelief and then the thrill-Modi has bitten the bullet-he has made 1000 and 500 Rs Notes ‘Illegal Tender‘.
I cheered-my family came rushing in and on listening in -we all cheered Moni’s bravery step. My housemaid rushed in -thrilled beyond words that Modi had taken on ‘Seths’.The next 3 months were sort of an Adrenaline filled time for the Nation.
The honest and the poor finally had their moment. Heady stories of suitcases full of cash being thrown in Garbage bins bought smiles to most faces. Yes, Modi was setting the looters right. Visuals on TV showing stacks of cash and gold recovered from powerful bureaucrats,politicians, brokers,lawyers,businessmen etc added to the satisfaction of the honest citizenry.
Citizens stood in Long lines happily. We were thrilled with the first look of the 2000 RS notes before we discovered 100, 500 Rs were easier to use. In lines one discovered a sense of kinship with fellow Indians. The refrain was – Modi has shown guts to take on entrenched corrupt and black money stockers.
Media was by and large Anti Demonetisation – but the citizens brushed them off- it was like- Modi is taking on the corrupt- we are with him- don’t you try and trip Modi on this. Many ‘Eminent’ Celebrity Reporters were chased off and Booed by ppl standing in lines for hours .
Congress under Rahul Gandhi, BSP, SP,Left, DMK, NC, RJD, TMC were virulently against Demonetisation. Their vitriolic speeches were often Booed and dismissed by the larger citizenry. On the contrary, salacious gossip about stacks of ill gotten wealth now turned to waste was the buzz about their virulent opposition.
In villages, which media projected as most affected and suffering due to Demonetisation, feedback on ground was different. Normal villagers saw their politically backed strongmen reduced to non entities and stories of Vans filled with cash being burnt in fields were shared with great satisfaction.
Most class 4 employees, jandhan account holders were in great demand to keep extra cash in their accounts. My housemaid was gleeful about ‘seth’ giving 2 month’s advance and ‘bonus’ to her husband in demonetised notes and requesting to deposit 50,000 in her Jandhan Account.
The speeches of Modi- one in Goa where he broke down and in UP where he said if people did not support his Demonetisation and rejected him- he would take his Jhola and be on his way as he was a Fakir; resounded deeply with the masses.
The Mood of Nation was upbeat. Yes, glitches were there. Some bankers colluded with the corrupt, but the majority came through brilliantly- working long hours, adjusting to a new order, even eating dinner in banks. The overall mood was of a Nation on a Mission to weed out stacks of black money. Every reform, every change comes with difficulties. No reform is perfect, especially in India where systems were damaged and broken. The honest Indian understood and supported Demonetisation and had no patience with those trying to declare it a failure. Rather those who were opposing it were thought to have been affected personally because their black money became useless.
One year has passed, Nation is on its path of fixing broken systems. All doomsday predictions have fallen flat. There is a feeling of positivity and hope. Many regional satraps have become toothless, the buzz is they lost their loot to Demonetisation. Stone pelting is down, Army gaining upper hand in Kashmir. The spine of Naxalism is broken along with the power of their overground supporters.
The common citizen knows Demonetisation was just one step – GST, Benami are to follow. We are waiting for Benami properties act to come, Nation will again support.
Picture Credit: Screen shot from Twitter, ANI and @HTTweets