I am not a Modi-Bhakt. In fact, I have been a big critic of Narendra Modi, when it comes to his tolerance of religious intolerance in this country. And yet, today I stand in support of his historic decision to invalidate the legal tender for the existing 500 and 1000 rupee notes that are in circulation.
Those who meet me usually ask me for a solution to some of the problems that we face in India, probably because I tend to maintain the attitude that I do have a solution to such problems ;-). So, over the last many years, when anyone had asked me, ‘How do we root out black money in the country?’ my answer was, ‘In fact, the solution is quite simple. I would make the 500 and 1000 rupees notes invalid as of today. And everyone has to come to the bank to exchange and get new notes starting tomorrow.’
The discussion would then usually go into whether the political leadership in India would ever do it. The answer would be – ‘it is not a very pragmatic decision for a political leader, he would invariably alienate most of his colleagues in politics, because politics in India is funded mostly by the black money. One would really need balls to do it, and our politicians rarely have that’.
And yet, three days ago, I get a call from a good friend. ‘Watch the news’, he said. Unfolding before me was the one of the most defining moments in Indian History. Prime Minister was announcing the demonitization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
In 1947, Nehru in his famous Tryst with Destiny speech, said:
A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.
On 8 Nov 2016, Modi in his speech announcing demonetization of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes said:
There comes a time in the history of country’s development when a need is felt for strong and decisive stand… there come moments, those moments come but rarely.
And we will all remember this moment twenty years from now, where India stepped from the old into new. Where an age ends, and a new age begins.
And yet I find some criticism, some naysayers.
How could you not celebrate this moment?
Yes, there would be some hiccups. Never will such a transition be smooth for everyone. When Telangana was struggling for statehood, many people complained of inconvenience caused by strikes and bandhs, and I asked, would you rather allow a large section of people not have their freedoms just because you are inconvenienced?
Like how a small child cries in pain when given vaccination for her own good, these are nothing but small inconveniences that we face right now, but we would have found a cure to curbing black money in this country.
Let’s celebrate. And take inspiration to do something bold!
This message is for all state governments across the country. Pass those bold bills, take those bold decisions. Go against the tide, piss your colleagues, challenge the status quo! Reform, rectify, improve, break down, invent, be creative!
For a change, be bold!
Thank you, Mr. Modi.
Coming from people like us, you should take it as a compliment! ;-)