Conflict Renders Money Useless In Kashmir
By Bilal Hussain
24 September, 2010
The unending unrest in Kashmir has rendered the currency worthless as it couldn’t serve the very purpose of money. The currency here during these tough times couldn’t be used to procure essential commodities, medical services, transportation and many other vitals for survival as there are no takers for it at this point of time due to continuing curfew and protests. Baring few days market places in the valley remained closed for over three months now.
The currency, a tool used for means of exchange, a standard unity to measure value and a means to store wealth, officially coined or stamped metal currency; a form or denomination of coin or paper money. However, factually during conflict times like the one Kashmir at present is witnessing since past three months, it serves almost none of these purposes. All it can do here is to make lockers, purses and pockets heavier.
The imposition of stringent curfew since September 12, 2010 in the valley has not only halted every segment of life but has virtually made survival hardest. Practically, what has happened in the past three months is that there has been negligible [if at all] free flow of money which has left it standstill. Although, there have been reports that people at large withdrew bulk of currency notes, tens of millions of rupees, from banks and their ATMs across the valley, however, the same is not circulated due to the unrest.
In a situation like this what takes place is that the money is transformed nonfunctional; people here prefer barter system, in which goods are exchanged for good, over currency. There seems to have been a deadlock in money supply, the total amount of money available in an economy at a particular point in time, which has currently supplemented demonetization in Kashmir. Wroth while to mention here that the trade across the line of control between divided Kashmir takes place through barter system only.
All this has affected the monetary system —secures the proper functioning of money by regulating economic agents, transaction types, and money supply— of Kashmir. Though there is no formal system of calculation of weekly food inflation here, but it is of sure that it would be all time high. While the real estate prices have gone down to a greater extent, brokers find it difficult to trace buyer of immovable properties.
Though, there are people however, small in number in the valley who still have capacities to purchase essentials of life but alas! their money too could no more fetch them all that money could but for them. Closure of markets, cut off supply and low productions [Agriculture and horticulture] and ever increasing demand of essentials particularly food items has further devalued money here.
Scores of people who have lots of money to burn shared how money no longer buys them goods and services here in the present situation. An elite friend of mine few days back told me that he withdrew pretty good cash from his saving bank account fearing the prolonging of unrest. However, regardless of his money it could fetch him nothing but wastage of time while waiting in a long queue for taking out some bucks from a private bank. He lamented how his money couldn’t even buy a pain killer medicine leave aside other non essential products for him. “I was ready to pay any amount for a single tablet of medicine as I was unable to bear tooth ache any further,” he rued. There are many more stories alike that remained untold but essence remains same ‘money has become useless’.
In the prevailing situation in the valley the money is unable to purchase goods, so it becomes worthless. This is not something specific to Kashmir but in particular countries, wars have produced this effect, notably in the revolutionary wars in both the United States and France, when the currency became of no value.
In a lighter vein, for others [love birds] the currency no longer could get them recharge coupons for ‘telephonic romance’ because of which they are quite unhappy with the curfews, which enforces them to stay indoors without any connections to each other. Some have resorted to internet wherein they can exchange mails, messages, wall postings and chats on social networking sites like facebook, orkut and others. There are some internet service providers who have not snapped internet connections despite non payments of bills. “I am planning to divorce mobile connection and get an internet connection which seems a viable options during these troubled times,” one of know person to me mentions. All they could hope is some respite in curfews so that their money could gather some sellable and services for them to ease their ‘love connections’. Is it time to seek real value beyond money?
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