Ranjona Banerji: How dare you whine, India?

Published: Nov 23, 2016, 08:23 IST | Ranjona Banerji |

‘Patriots’ seem to think it is absurd that the common man needs cash for daily dealings in this age of e-wallets and online shopping

Two weeks after the demonetisaton drive began, citizens continue to spend hours waiting in queues to withdraw new currency notes from ATMs and banks. Pic/AFP
Two weeks after the demonetisaton drive began, citizens continue to spend hours waiting in queues to withdraw new currency notes from ATMs and banks. Pic/AFP

What price compassion? When it comes to slick TV quotes from fat cats in India applauding the currency ban, somewhere close to the value of a Rs 1,000 note post November 8. Zero, zilch, nothing, and if you are a proper Indian: Shuniya.

The Prime Minister of India, for instance, was “anguished” at the deaths of over 100 people in a train accident, at least according to his tweets, which is now the main way in which an elected official communicates with the citizenry. The “anguish” for Indians affected by his demonetisation of 85 per cent of India’s currency notes? Er, not so much, if at all.

The number of Indians on Twitter is apparently about 20 million, give or take a couple of million. The number of Indians not on Twitter: About one billion.

Most of these one billion, we have learnt in the past two weeks, are also too stupid and possibly anti-national to have credit cards, debit cards, use mobile wallets and online banking, according to our well-informed, well-heeled, urban Currency Ban Supporters. If this one billion cared a tiny bit about terrorism or counterfeit currency, they wouldn’t have died in lines waiting to exchange their wicked banned notes. They would have been smart and died at home or at least in a beautiful well-appointed, un-crowded government hospital, which was eager to accept their demonetised bits of paper.

Actually, if these dead people had had any sense at all, they would have all been at the border defending India from its enemies. Is it true that the Armed Forces are going to do away with retirement ages and patriots can now volunteer to fight at the borders at any age, preferably over 80?

Apart from the people who have been so inconsiderate as to die in queues waiting for some usable cash, others have underlined once again how India has too many un-patriots within. To-be-mothers and unborn babies for instance, who have died in hospitals since no one would accept the old notes or the process of accepting old notes was too long to sustain life in medical emergencies.

Who would have thought that the government would come up with such an excellent population control method while getting rid of black money, catching terrorists and stumping all fake currency operations? Sheer genius, you must admit!

Of course, the primary reason for this currency ban was to stop evil terrorists, and may a pox fall on all of you who think otherwise. Farmers, for instance, who now have started whining that they don’t have money to sow seeds, pay their workers and other completely un-technology, outdated stuff like that. When you can order online from the supermarket, who on earth needs farmers, seeds, ploughing methods and this pointless emphasis on agriculture? How completely against Digital India, you must admit.

Also, why are so many people going on and on about domestics and their problems? Haven’t you heard? Every domestic who works with a Currency Ban Supporter orders groceries online from their smart phones, shops with credit cards and holidays at Juan Les Pin.

Indians with credit cards are like Indians with Twitter accounts — some 20 million. Which I assume means that all people with credit cards and Twitter accounts are domestics who work with rich fat cats who appear on TV in ‘Do not bore me with sob stories’ mode.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that this demonetisation exercise could not have been implemented better. He has also said that poverty will now be rooted out from the country. In fact, we are seeing this happening perfectly as more and more poor people are feeling the brunt of being hungry, moneyless and without medical attention.

In a slight twist, you might argue that farmers are also being rooted out by crops not being planted at all. If these poor people were proper nationalists, they would stop moaning that their children hadn’t eaten for a few days. Fasting is good for the system, soul and so on.

Meanwhile, the most patriotic things to do this fortnight for nationalists was to visit Japan and order a bullet train or two, and attend a Coldplay concert in Mumbai. Take a cue from the Prime Minister. Get out of the queue. Get on to a plane.

If not, off with your whiny, poor, starving, sick head.

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @ranjona. Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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