A clear cleavage that has occurred since the introduction of Demonetisation is between those who believe that this will act as a magic panacea against black money on one side and those who critic it by questioning its unconvincing logic. The ones in the former consists the Bhakts and also those who are convinced by the propaganda machine and genuinely believe it to be a solution. The other side includes the group of intelligentsia (economists, social scientists, and journalists), activists, social critics and vigilant citizens. While the former base their beliefs on faith, the latter believe in evidence. The clash may be described as one between faith vs. evidence, religion vs. science, fiction vs. reality.
This clash may perhaps do some good to the country. An area of concern is that despite the Demonetisation creating large scale inconvenience and suffering largely to the poor, lower middle classes and workers, yet has not turned into a mass movement against the governmental action. This may be due to large sections largely believing in supremacy of individual actions based on faith. In the period following post-2014, Modi as prime minister has clearly emerged as a person who is believed to possess extra-ordinary capabilities to address multiple challenges with a magic stick. While the belief in supremacy of individual actions, a super hero to address people’s issues was always there, this got further strengthened through a propaganda machine.
The silent suffering of the people is largely due to extreme faith in individual actions of the superhero. It is due to extreme belief that these are genuinely intended and would prove effective in tackling black money. The fact of demonetisation only creating inconvenience to the poor, but having little effect on black money may perhaps shake the large sections to become more conscious to the realities of irrational actions of an individual. The shaking of faith in super hero could prove to be a blessing in disguise. It could break the pattern of belief in supremacy of faith, religion, irrational actions of an individual and beliefs based on lack of evidence.
Ever since post-2014, faith, fiction and myths are being mainstreamed by the current regime. This is seen as a way to keep people unconscious to the realities. However, with effects of demonetisation – and people actually seeing evidence and practically experiencing it, may make them to give up their extreme faith in individual actions which are irrational and not based on evidence. Can demonetisation prove to be a turning point and challenge the MODI-fication process needs to be seen? If it happens it could be a blessing in disguise. Will we move on the path of science, evidence, rationalism, social progress rather than go backwards towards past based on faith and myths needs to be seen. If demonetisation effects could help in shift to a positive direction, it is a welcome development. But it cannot be denied it had huge human costs to it.
T H Sreerama is a retired government servant from Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC).