In the dusty village of Mau Chikmandi in Mohanlalganj, just 25 kilometres from the state capital, life has changed after November 8. A few villagers are worried about arranging money for weddings and others are not sleeping well at night. Some others have also been compromising with their eating habits, shunning cooked vegetables and managing with roti-chutney alone. Despite the hardships, many are willing to back the demonetisation move.
Mohammed Arif, 28, is about to get married on November 26 but instead of being happy and dreaming about his new life, he is a worried man.
“We are so short of cash that my family has not been sleeping at nights. Life is not the same for me. That night (November 8) has changed the way I look at marriages. I was someone who enjoyed weddings to the hilt. I never knew that I would not be able to enjoy my own marriage,” said Arif.
His father, Mohammed Yaseen added, “The government should have thought about poor people like us. Banks are not helping us either. Despite showing the wedding card to the manager, he said that he couldn’t change the rule for us. Now, I don’t know where to go.”
UP’s rural economy is powered by cash transactions. Despite the Jan Dhan drive, many villagers still don’t have bank accounts. Plastic money too is unheard of by most people in rural areas.
Rajesh Sharma, whose daughter Shanno is set to get married on November 21, has been making purchases via cheques. Sharma has bought sarees and several utilities through cheque payment. This is not to say that he’s not feeling the pinch of demonetisation. “I have a lot of old denomination cash with me, which I got after selling 5 biswa of land,” he said, adding, “It’s a wrong decision. I voted for BJP but not for this day.”
Then there are some, who support the centre’s decision. Anil Raidas, a dalit cobbler in village Bakkhakhera said, “It’s a good step. I am ready to support it. I have lost some of my earnings but I am happy that the menace of black money will be tamed. I used to earn around Rs 200 per day. Today, I am not earning more than Rs 100 but I am with the government.”
He added, “Yes, vegetables have disappeared from our diet. I am only taking roti-chutney but all this is acceptable if the plague of black money can be controlled and the corrupt are sent behind bars.”