With demonetisation, PM Modi has made common people feel like thieves

By Sheikh Khurshid Alam for TwoCircles.net

Browsing through the pages of the November issue of Economic & Political Weekly (EPW), I came across a quote, “It is dangerous to be perceived as dangerous”. I understood the gravity of this statement only after listening to the most saintly figure of our times, Narendra Modi, saying, “Some people are criticising demonetisation because the government did not give any time to them to make any preparation (to convert black money into white).” It is pertinent to mention that Modi made these remarks after the members of the Opposition in Parliament; especially Dr.Manmohan Singh had raised the plight of the people due to the monumental blunder of the government in the form of demonetisation. Modi has not only perceived those, who are questioning his policies as hoarders of black money but also went a step ahead and mocked those crores of helpless people, who are running from pillar to post to get their currencies exchanged, deposited or withdrawn.

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The policies of this government surely lacks political morality. Modi and his yes-men have coerced the common man to feel like a thief when he deposits his own hard-earned money into his bank accounts and like a beggar when he stands for hours in the queue to withdraw the same. People are living in fear of constantly changing notifications. The editorial of EPW says, “Demonetisation this time as in other policy interventions is more theatrics than a real assault on the functioning of the black economy.” And Modi would like us to believe the contrary with his self-promoted, App-based survey result.

Professor Michael Sandel of Harvard University writes, “A homeless person sleeping under a bridge may have chosen, in some sense, to do so; but we would not necessarily consider his choice to be a free one. Nor would we be justified in assuming that he must prefer sleeping under a bridge to sleeping in an apartment. In order to know whether his choice reflects a preference for sleeping out of doors or an inability to afford an apartment, we need to know something about his circumstances. Is he doing it freely or out of necessity?”

Being a student of Law, I have come across the mention of the infamous 1975 Emergency, a direct result of the one-(wo)man show of Indira Nehru Gandhi, innumerable times. People did not forgive Indira Gandhi for her whimsical policies and as a result the Janata Party came into power. Modi might have done his graduation in the subject of ‘entire political science’ but there are no signs of any lesson been learnt. By carving out an image of the only holy person and branding the members of opposition as well as all those innocent Indians as thieves and hoarders of black money, Modi has put into motion the wheels of Justice and demanded a repetition of history, at his own cost.

This reminds me of one of my Professors at Residential Coaching Academy, AMU, who often says in his lectures that lack of political morality among the Indian politicians has often resulted in strangling of the Constitution. In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, David Cameron, taking moral responsibility, had resigned from the Prime Ministership, though he was under no compulsion to do so. Modi is not willing to take any legal responsibility, leave aside the question of moral responsibility, for the chaos which he has created and for the deaths due to his government’s flawed policies.

The author is a Member of Calcutta Society for Socio-Legal Research (CSSLR), a non-profit organisation addressing the current and future dynamics of the Minorities of India, overall public-awakening activities and research projects.