The Joke Is On Us

Posted by prasoon.kanmadikar in Society
January 2, 2017

My memory draws me back to the emphatic win of the BJP in the 2014 general elections, which had witnessed a mostly one-sided election campaign led by the BJP’s new rising stalwart Narendra Damodardas Modi. We had seen it all, right from the campaigns on ground to television advertisement to use of the new age social media, all was used professionally by the BJP campaign team. The ‘Acche Din aane wale hai’ was the campaign rhyme which virtually made the difference, citing each problem that a common man was affected with to making him realise that his problems were soon going be extinct.

After nearly half of the term of the government that was elected with a thumping majority, the Modi government came up with its so-called surgical strike on black money and corruption by demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes. Helter-skelter, the aam aadmi (common man) suddenly felt the pinch when his pocket was under the radar and searched by the government.

Suddenly the trust that was entrusted by the people on the Modi government was jolted. Till date, we only knew that the solution to resolve the Black Money issue was off-shore bank accounts in tax heavens. And since we didn’t even know what it meant, we were sure that it has nothing to do with us. But suddenly, all seemed as though the target were the common people themselves as their money their savings were under threats.

Image source: Getty images

But the belief that Modiji would not let them down made them believe that ‘All is for a good cause’, till the time the RBI, Finance Ministry, Department of Economic Affairs came out with addendums that surely shocked the people who felt that they were being stabbed in the back, every new directive may it be regarding cash withdrawals from ATM’s, modes of cash deposits, forms and formalities, allowable usages of ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes at various utilities adding to the erratic timelines. These all made the common people shiver with anxiety and annoyance that related squarely with their money and their need of basic utilities for survival, as the unavailability of low denomination cash remained an unresolved issue.

For the common man it was like getting your salary but unable to make further payments and when ATM-after-ATM ran out of cash, demonetisation seems like a cruel joke on the people and yes a joke it is. Each day, new directions are issued by the govt making people wander, feeling ditched each time. At the end of the day it is their money, what now seems to be more of ‘controlled’ money, old days of ration control just is reminded again. Daily lives of common man ran into an undeclared emergency.

When such discretionary powers of the government affect the private lives of individuals the disintegration of trust between the government and those governed comes to the centre stage.

Some day the ATM withdrawal limit was ₹2000 which was soon to become ₹4000, to it being changed to ₹2500, that too if you find a recalibrated ATM providing you ₹500 currency note, else you remain struggling for change.

Some days you have the Finance minister making assurances and on next day you have the RBI stating contrary. When RBI issued a circular to let people withdraw ₹2.5 lakh for weddings, soon some stiff conditions were placed including making a declaration for payments beyond ₹10,000 in cash to vendors for a wedding.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court hearing the bunch of petitions filed on the issue of demonetisation, will now hear the matter on constitutional grounds by a five-judge constitutional bench. Be that may, courts will pronounce its verdict after due process of law, but what sufferings have people undergone these days will it ever be compensated?

With these emergency-like scenarios, the common man felt defeated by the system again, the futuristic change that he believed had brought himself down and the least relief that he anticipated was that corrupt with black money holders would suffer, but that too is nowhere seen.

A few years back when we trusted the government to bring ‘Acche Din’ for us. A trust deficit definitely seems to have set in the people, as now dissatisfaction and lack of trust in the ‘system’ rather ‘our system’ loops in again. Introspection has already started and in some cases resentment of trusting someone to govern, leading us again to the two words ‘WE’ and ‘THEY’. ‘WE’ the common man, people who entrusted this government with its promises, ditched and failed by the governing masters; ‘THEY’ the politicians, sovereign masters, now also dictatorial and authoritarian.

The introspection of the words ‘THEY’ and ‘WE’ should be done, but this time by us. As ‘THEY’ are who ‘WE’ choose and ‘WE’ are responsible for ‘THEM’. ‘THEY’ are just part of ‘WE’ one of ‘WE’. ‘THEY’ are there, because ‘WE’ decided ‘THEY’.

If today we are not left with answers or feel ditched and dissatisfied, with such merry-go-round and circus of unprecedented imposed financial emergency, this time…

The joke is on us…

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