Skip to main content

Who are the demons of India's demonitisation?

I rarely comment on social or political issues as I prefer not to speak about things I am not fully aware of.

The current demonisation issue has led to lot of strident comments on social media from both of sides of the fence and stands are usually extreme
rather than nuanced.

So I decided to write a post on this on Facebook.
Sitting at a place which doesn't accept cards and where I had to depend on my wife to buy my breakfast.

Here's what I wrote:

I'd been out of the country when this demonitisation thing happened. Didn't have cash on me but was not affected much personally at the beginning.


I couldn't buy fish for my granny from local markets when I reached Calcutta as I didn't have cash and had no time to go to a super market. It was not critical. 


I had to intervene on her behalf to make a payment to the worker clearing the garbage at her place. Neither of us had non 500 Rs notes to give him and being a daily labourer, he couldn't take a day off work to exchange the 500 Re notes he got.  


I used Uber in Kolkata very peacefully

using Paytm. Local cabbies take cash which is unaccounted for by the way and, in Kolkata, they refuse to go anywhere in any case. 


Using Uber and debit cards I could get gran's much needed medical check ups done. Left to herself, or to my aunt in Kolkata, it wouldn't have happened because they don't lead a

digital life


The pre-paid cab counter at Mumbai airport don't take cards so I needed my wife to come down with cash for the Meru cab when I reached home last night. I had 100 Rs to pay for the convenient fee thankfully


Lot of folks - cabbies, Grocers, big city market vendors, fish sellers, paan wallahs - who take only cash are not BPL and they don't pay taxes.


Thanks to them many small operators, who are genuinely poor, are losing business with customers like us going to people who accept digital cash. But that's not everyone 


I also saw huge queues of people trying to withdraw their own money in Kolkata and Mumbai for daily needs. Money which is accounted for and in their bank accounts and

not 'black'. It's not easy to get cash. People like us can still  manage to some extent but we are a minority. People who don't live in India, and who are pontificating on the issue, are not affected by this 


The reasons for cash economy are grey and not everyone standing in a queue trying to withdraw money is an unpatriotic, black marketeer 


So let's think twice before posting a funny meme. I am a bit tired of sanctimonious and vapid social media posts on the issue and let's not glorify pain. 'Vision' has to be thought through too


Few things in life are as easy as tweeting or facebooking or instagramming and yes, none of this is comparable with being a soldier on the borders


Empathy will help. Understanding will help. 


And, from the government, communication and transparency and measures to make

It easier for its citizens. We are all in one team after all

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The importance of being 'Nyaka'

'Nyaka' is a Bengali term which beats translation. It could mean coy, coquettish, scheming, la di da. There is no one word which captures it. The term is used in a pejorative context and has a sarcastic tone to it. Used a bit more for women than for men. Has a feminine context when used for men.I posed the challenge of translating 'nyaka' into English to fellow Bengalis in Facebook. Here's a sample of the answers that I got.I have removed the names and kept the statuese as is, hope it's not too difficult to read

Bong man 1Coy.....but that does capture the essence
14 December at 14:37 ·

Me
No ...not entirely. A colleague just suggested precocious. Maybe its too intrinsic a Bong trait to be translated :)
14 December at 14:50 ·

Bong woman 1kol-lan, difficult to get a english / hindi word for nyaka.
14 December at 15:11 ·

me
that's the point
14 December at 15:15 ·

Bong woman 2
oh, i think the essence of the word 'nyaka' will be lost in translation. just like gettin…

Where will you be twenty years from now?

A taste of Mumbai
It struck me the other day that it has been about twenty years since the time I took my first steps, albeit unwittingly, towards moving into Mumbai.
I had been recruited by a market research agency in Kolkata from campus back then. I joined my new office once the MBA course was over. We were then sent to Mumbai for a training programme in August 1997. Once the course was over, my colleagues from Kolkata returned home. I was slated to stay back for a 2 month training programme in Mumbai which then stretched on for close to 6 months. I was put up at a PG in Bandra by my office then.
Such  a long journey
This was the first time that I was living away from home. All I wanted to do then was to get back to Kolkata as soon as I could. Go back and build a successful career in market research hopefully. Move to an apartment in a posher part of Kolkata than where we lived. At Ballygunge for example. 
I thought it would be cool one day have a club membership given to me by offic…

Philosophising is fine but action is what matters

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."We were introduced to this quote from Karl Marx by a gentleman named Samit Kar who taught us Marxism in Presidency College. We had a paper on Marxism as a part of our Sociology course designed by the Calcutta University in the mid 1990s. I was not into Marxism, which seemed so anachronistic in the post Berlin Wall fall days, and wasn't too keen on these classes.
However there was no forgetting this line of Marx as Professor Kar would keep repeating it. He was so fond of this line that a friend of mine and I wondered if this is what he told his wife the night he had got married!  I must mention that prof Kar had graciously invited all of us from class to his wedding at a place called Shinghi Park and it was a happy evening. Whether his favourite Marxist quote was a part of what was discussed later that night was not something that we ever found out.

From what I remember, and…