There are all sorts of messages on social media. While many can be dismissed as silly, there are others which are brilliant, satirical, crisp and thought provoking. Not only do many WhatsApp posts provide free entertainment with jokes, videos and witty one-liners but they are also informative. A big source of infotainment!
Ever since PM Narendra Modi stunned the nation on November 8 with his big-bang announcement on demonetisation, social media is flooded with posts on the note ban. Though many messages denounce the move, there has been no dearth of posts glorifying the PM for his bold step. Undoubtedly, demonetisation has caused lot of hardship to the people; yet the masses support it. Why is aam aadmi not mad at NaMo for DeMo? A puzzle indeed! There is this WhatsApp post to unravel the mystery. “Aam admi pareshan hai, phir bhi khush hai - kyon ki notebandi se garib sochta hai ki dhanna sethon ki vaat lagi hai, naukar sochta hai ki malik ki vaat lagi hai.” (Despite the pain caused by the note ban, most people are happy because the poor think that the rich have been trapped, the servant feels the boss is trapped). The man on the street is not sad, rather is deriving sadistic pleasure. His perception is that demonetisation has brought more misery to the rich than to him. Truly a study in psycho-analysis!
Black money, safely tucked away, is in the spotlight after demonetisation. The drive against corruption is the theme of many of the WhatsApp messages nowadays. There is this message in chaste Hindi to rattle me, “Is desh me sab bhratachaar ke virudh hai .Toh bhrashtachaar karta kaun hai?” (If everyone in this country is against the corruption, then who is responsible for the rampant corruption?) The post puts a question mark on the level of morality and honesty in our society.
Post demonetisation, half a dozen new ways have been found and perfected for money laundering and recycling ‘old black’ into new ‘pink’. It has been Indian ingenuity at its best/worst in gaming the system. Huge surge in deposits in Jan Dhan and small dormant accounts indicates how the black money is back in the system, belying all the expectations of the government to destroy the black money. Indian ingenuity is not just confined to skirting the system, but is abundantly reflected in WhasApp posts as well. I am, particularly, impressed by a post which draws a parallel between ‘black money’ and ‘soul’. As soul, being immortal, leaves one’s body to enter into another, black money also never dies. It just gets transferred from one bank account to another.
These days WhasApp is full of images on black money stashed in brand new currency notes seized by income tax and enforcement directorate. Also, there are images of long, serpentine queues for the cash, and also of the ‘No cash’ boards put up by banks and ATMs.
There can be no better way to end this piece than with a thought provoking message in my mailbox quoting Mahatma Gandhi, whose image graces every currency note in the country “There is enough in this world for everyone’s need, but not for anyone’s greed.”
( The writer teaches economics at MCM DAV College, Chandigarh)