The Mahatma, a man of minimal needs and limited means, ended up in the most unlikeliest of places, the rupee note and today he’s in for makeover along with the enhacement of face value.
Modi bomb explodes post Diwali and the tremors of the detonation are rocking the entire nation. What is the Prime Minister aiming for, are we heading to a ‘Modi’fied clean India, the real swatch Bharat or is it a part of a larger political conspiracy, much beyond the scope of comprehension of the Aam Admi.
For someone who interacts with these common men and women on a daily basis on account of belonging to this very category, what I gather from these interactions is a feeling of what people are hoping to be a short term & immediate inconvenience in the face of a better and brighter tomorrow. We stand to lose nothing in this bargain for we really have nothing significant to lose. The overall feeling is akin to that of being witness to a revolution and hoping it does revolutionize the way we spend our money. Are we in for a rude surprise needs to be seen.
It is a widely known fact that in India 80 % of the wealth belongs to 20 % of the population, no wonder the Forbes magazine has listed 2 Indians in its top 20 and both of them breaking into the top 5. As for the rest of its wealth, it is divided rather inequitably amongst those who constitute the real mass of the country.
So when this so called creame class garishly and recklessly displays their money in an obnoxious manner, while the rest of the nation strives to make ends meet, there is a deep rooted sense of despair, discontent and desquite amongst the bourgeois and the non entity, the cipher which constitute majority of India’s population.
The Big Fat Indian Weddings, where millions are spent in minutes, where money is literally burnt in a flashy display of fireworks, where food that could feed the entire country of Ethiopia for a day is made for a selected few, who merely sniff at it for they are on a perpetual diet. Where the blinding glitter of jewels and diamonds could put an entire constellation of stars to shame and where it is a matter of great shame and disgrace if you as much repeat a dress from another event.
At the other end of the spectrum is a poor or middle class father who struggles for his entire life, saves up money in whatever little way he can, mortgages his worldly belongings and feels the burn of the hole that a very simple wedding of his daughter has left in his shallow pockets. The remainder of his life then goes in repaying the debts often ending up bequeathing those to his children.
He bears with stoic courage the opportunity that is lost to the family when his son narrowly misses a much coveted and desperately needed seat in some medical or engineering college, to someone who could feed the insatiable monster of the college management. He still endures when he’s unable to feed the entire chain of people that goes into recruitment of scant jobs, moves on in life frustrated, depressed but still hoping that someday the God up there in the heavens will smile upon him.
Isn’t it everday that we get to read about the suicide of some or the other insignificant farmer who even after his death only just manages to gain a few lines which are relegated to some discreet corner on the inner pages of a news paper, when the hoarders or blackmarketeers suck the very blood out of his already weakened and impoverished body.
Dont those appeals seeking donations to aid the treatment of some needy sick child fighting for his life hurt your eyes and sear your souls when on the very same page you read about the filthy amount that a certain bhakt donated to a certain deity which ends up filling the coffers of the temple trusts.
And dont you lose faith in the democracy of this country when a local hooch dealer, an extortionist who is also a part time money lender, a thug who has a murder charge or two upon his head, represents you in the temple of democracy. He who isn’t ashamed of proclaiming that politics is the easiest and fastest way of converting 5 to 25. He knows and so do we that big money exchanges hands in the persuit of power, thereby making the system more curropt as one climbs higher up the steps of the political ladder.
This is a country where a Government Engineer eats up the entire road, a Babu the entire scheme, a policeman an entire case and a politician all of the above. The discontent is so profound that the people are swayed by a slight change in narrative and lured by promises which were never made to be honoured. But now we are really dismayed, we dont care who comes to power. Whether the hand that rocked the nation for the major portion of the last 70 years manages to crush the blooming Lotus bud or the elephant with its ponderous gait reaches the finish line even before the cycle rides its way to glory. All the real Aam Admi cares is for the Sacchi ke Acche din.
So when a revolution like this one comes along and sweeps up the entire nation in its wake, the common man weathers this storm with bravery, just in the hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel, for he’s a creature of habit, a habit of hoping against all hopes, a habit of optimism and a habit of bearing with the grief of a shattered dream. But he has many questions too. Are we heading towards a cashless economy, towards transparency in financial dealings, are we looking forward to affordable essential commodities, housing and education. Or is Demonetisation going to leave him really demonetised and broke, only time will tell.