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Demonetization in Modi’s Pluralistic India

Demonetization in Modi’s Pluralistic India

A couple of prophetic administrators of the Independent India has displayed visionary leadership and decisive initiatives for the prospects of our country; but none of them has been accepted in the true spirit or supported unequivocally by the then so-called think-tank turned political leaders and a section of the country men. November 8th 2016 has been the D-day for yet another global leader in this series, but with an exception that he enjoys to fight back for not losing the due for him and his people.

It would be interesting to look back to the history of our country to get the point that I try to make here.

On 10 June 1981 ISRO India launched its first geostationary satellite called APPLE as an experimental communication satellite. Perhaps this was one of the single biggest investments that India had seen post-independence, while the country was yet to set its road map for addressing a host of socio-economic and geo-political issues. However, the scientist community and the political visionaries strongly felt the need for a strategic and meticulously planned development foundation for the country and the Space Mission was one among them; but the corrupt frame-of-minds in the Indian soil questioned this challenging footstep satirically that “does India at this point of time need expensive satellites to the unknown space, or basic needs such as food, cloths, and shelter for the lacs of its poor citizens..?” May be it’s because of the point that the corrupt can see things only through their prism, not with sagacity or they only think about today, not tomorrow. People of a certain school-of-thoughts always forget the reality that development of a nation is not based on a single-point agenda, but multi-phased managerial principles. Fortunately India continued its Space Mission, irrespective of unbendable criticism, with numerous rockets and satellite programs thereafter. Today, if we have high standard life style that matches or competes with the West, its nothing but these missions made it a reality; more than food-cloths-shelter, each Indian proudly owns at least one smart phone with 3G or 4G network and more over our education sector is shining with advanced technology. Life made so easy and the world has become a very small place. However, the paradox is that today those critics deeply enjoy the advanced life style resulted from such bold decisions as if they are never aware of their earlier chants.

The next hurdle was in 1991 when the then Prime Minister of India PV Narasimha Rao (whom I would like to name Modern India’s Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel) and his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh rolled out the great Economic Liberalization and reforms in India. Rao might be one of the most blamed PMs of this country for various reasons, but much determination was required to take such an experimental and terrific stride while India was completely confused of how to proceed with the highly aggressive and competitive international financial market and regional pressures; nevertheless they did it with grit. People of India first time experienced the bitterness of public administration in a democratic country; lots of benefits and financial subsidies were taken off and the tax regime was redefined. But the opinion-makers, the intellectualized-politicians, and their devotees couldn’t digest this risky proposition that was the need of the hour. Every other political leader and the self-proclaimed experts disapproved the brave move of Economic Liberalization and cursed the Prime Minister and his team with all sorts of mudslinging. There was only a couple of people like me (though I was just a student at that time) to support the PM and his team those days. But later when the Global Economic Slowdown hit the entire world in 2008 onwards like a plague or famine and the banking sector collapsed to the rubbles, it was only India survived without any major ramification and instability; it needs a special mention that the so-called intellectuals and politicians who recklessly carped the Economic Liberalization were later on the obverse to enjoy the benefit of the predictive initiative by Narasimha Rao.

Situation was not different in 1998 when yet another calculated risk was executed with much fanfare by the then Government in Pokhran. The “Smiling Buddha” (Pokhran-I) conceptualized by Independent India’s First Visionary Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and later executed by the Iron Lady of Modern India, Indira Gandhi was fortunately least criticized as the project was kept in utmost secret and politicians as well as the so-called progressive alliance didn’t even get enough access and opportunity to make their subversive annotations due to the subsequent polluted political atmosphere. But Pokhran-II (Operation Shakti) materialized by the Modern India’s First Visionary Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was exceedingly criticized by his own people and countrymen while the entire world looked at India with awe and anxiety. From generation to generation, the country has proven its power of democracy thru its visionary leaders to the extent that none of them had ever did bend their heads on any of such destructive and pessimistic forces. But the self-appointed interest groups who kept on enjoying the unequivocal benefits of all unpleasant administrative reforms was always busy campaigning against the then government, asking “are we in need of nuclear bombs while the people of our country are starving..!” It took almost a decade for those people to realize that it’s merely the nuclear capability that brought India to the mainstream. Today if Indians nap peacefully over nights and India has emerged to spearhead the Asia Pacific with a decisive mandate in global affairs, it’s nothing but the Pokhran-II that acted as catalyst for it.

When I say all these, I am fully aware of the fact that India is a pluralistic country with freedom to speech and express. Irrespective of the tag “developing country”, India has become the technology hub, source for the best resources and assets, capital of skill sets and intellectuals, centre of spirituality and excellence while our economy is stabilized with solid foundation. It’s the place where anomalies still exists that India hosts the most advanced and techno-modern skyscrapers on one side and shantytowns on the other. It’s amusing for all to know that India launches the most sophisticated satellites for technologic innovation, but only after breaking the coconut and humming mantras..! On the social spectrum, a section of Indian population always remain rebellious, narrow-minded, and conventional with rusted thinking as the side-effect of democracy and freedom. They never look at the next generation, but only focus on their ideology “I-me-myself”. They are never to absorb the temporary pain for a permanent gain, but eye at power and prestige at the expense of anything and everything; a mindset and cultural limitation.

In 2016, if the main challenge ahead of us is the much respected plurality and diversity, it’s not because of it delivers only negative results, but the way it’s interpreted and embraced by the pseudo nationalists (irrespective of political affiliations) the way they want it. Conventional thinking and adherence to precedents alone doesn’t mean that one respects the Constitution and stands for it. Constitution of India provisions everything what India needs for the next fifty years, and gives enough freedom to the democratically elected governments for making progressive changes from time to time in national policies and administrative customization as per the writings on the wall; but most of the time conventional approach and fixation to precedents overtake pragmatism and human touch. It’s high time for the people of India to be realistic in approach and reasonable in demands, and of course taking sides but rising above political gains and personal benefits.

India is taking calculated risks one after another with the intention of taking our country and its command to the next level as it was done in the decade 1980s and 1990s.

The Contemporary India’s Visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the iconic figure this time who has been portrayed as both hero and villain. The political surgical strike on the other side of the LoC (against cross boarder terrorism) and the financial surgical strike within our Country (against the amassed black money, uncontainable counterfeit currency, Maoist affected internal security, and the neighbour sponsored cross boarder terrorism) are hot topics of debate in India and abroad. Demonetization is one of the most powerful and assertive decisions taken by any government across the world in the recent decades. Demonetization is a calculated, time bound and targeted measure which would of course give an initial short-term pain to all citizens but will yield much bigger result on long-term like the economic liberalization did it in 1991. Demonetization has the power and capability to control our economy amidst all odds and can elevate India to be the world leader over a period of five years. Unfortunately, the pseudo-intellectuals, regional politicians and the intolerant social-advocates have taken revolt against this historic and path-breaking initiatives this time as well. The crusade against rampant corruption across the country is challenged in various legal circles including in the court-of-law with an illusionary expectation of the petitioners that the higher Court would come out with its verdict against demonetization. In a democratic country where repeated encounter between legislative and judiciary taking sides and judicial activism a fashion statement, a judgment in favour or against is unpredicted and will be unproductive – if at all the verdict is against this jumbo initiative, it would be considered as senseless and the darkest ever judgment in the history of independent India.

Administration of any social change and gigantic program in a country with 1.25 million people has its own difficulties and challenges. It will be disruptive for all reasons. Public inconveniences and limitation to luxury is inevitable in such scenarios. If any one looks for the fruits of demonetization overnight, it is to be termed as mere intellectual poverty and ideological confusion. If any one expects business-as-usual and same style of life immediately after demonetization, it’s nothing but over ambition, analytical starvation and political opportunism. The very purpose of demonetization is change of public lifestyle, change of social culture, change in the way business is done, change in the approach to nationalism, and moreover an effort to bring honesty for parity to the best possible degree. Demonetization in itself cannot achieve anything, unless and until it is endorsed by a series of stringent and toughest measures to curb illegitimate wealth accumulation. If a Perestroika and Glasnost in the erstwhile Soviet Union, a Brexit in the United Kingdom, and an Economic Liberalization in our own country are successful signatures on the pages of world history, the demonetization also will achieve its set objectives and goals; only if you and me do our own small contributions. If you have personal likes and dislikes with the Prime Minister of India, do not look at him, but visualize our very next generation and dream a brighter tomorrow for them and say: “I am ready for the short-term pain for the long-term gain; I am with it”

KJD © 2016

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Born and brought up in one of the most interior hill stations in India, the Idukki District, where avenue for advanced learning and development was the farthest dream due to the unfavorable geographic positioning and poor household economy……

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