Black And White Shades Of “money”

Posted by Panna Paul
May 1, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Black Money” happens to be  something which we pretend  to hate but to be precise we are jealous of  the people who has it, because somewhere  at the core of our heart we all have this slight array of hope that, wish we could also have ,  if not all but at least a fraction of it. It is black money which actually got a blow of Thor’s hammer with the demonetisaton of 500 and 1000 rupees currency by the NDA government last year during the month of November. However this article is not about analyzing the pro and the cons of the demonetization policy of neither the government, nor it will talk about the common men’s problem and sacrifice for better future. It will try to look into the whole issue of money as black. Has anyone of us ever pondered about the use of the word black rather than illegal? Why not using terms like illegal and legal money and not black and white? To find the answers one needs to go little backward, into the abysses of memory, one need to dwell little deep into the history. To start with, let’s first discuss the evolution of the term, as per the Investopedia black money has its emergence from its association with the black market. The black market, as known to many, has its origin the English lexicons. The term has been first used for the market run by some nomadic mercenaries who have been infamously famous for plundering and murdering in the medieval period. Even the market in which slaves are traded in American used to be called as “black markets”, to name a one is Old Slave Mart in Charleston, South Carolina. Interestingly,”black market” has literal translations in German (scharz-markt),  French (marché noir), Italian (mercato nero), and Spanish (mercado negra). Thus. One can see that the whole term has its origin in the White West. Thus, the dichotomy of the good and bad, the binary of black and white has its origin in the colonial mentality of West, where they consider everything; that they see different from them or to be precise not “good” as per their taste as black or evil. Black as colour has been a cultural symbol of mourning, death or devil which is very much specific to their cultural scenario, but with the advent of colonization and after the Globalisation their view came to be accepted as the world view. This is what one can refer as constructing identity or constructive representation of something as put forward by Stuart Hall, a eminent cultural theorist. Thus, the idea of money being black or white can be seen as a core colonial construction.

Now, there may be argument that black is a universal color of evil so everything illegal or not fairly executed things are ought to associated with black and ignored.  But if one sees in India we have fairly ample evidence of black being good and divine. To name a few are, Goddess Kali the literally meaning of her name is one who is black, or Krishna he was also referred at many texts by many poets as Kala or Kaliya, the kajal which happens to be an indispensable part of women’s makeup in India is also black in colour. Bhagwat Gita mentions three Gunas or qualities which make a human being complete one of them is Tamas or black. So, in spite of all these can it still be taken into consideration that black money or white ,money is an universal approach towards the phenomenon? No, the use of the term black instead of illegal can only be seen as a colonial hangover that India is retaining like many other things that it still preserves to cherish the 200 years of dominance. Will it not be good thing for us to use legal and illegal money rather than white or black? Will it not help us come to terms with our own self in a more liberated way? Let was think and act.

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