The (Many-headed) Demon

Our anger continues as does the feeling of impotence. The scary part is how the narrative has been laid out, so that many people who have no cause to feel any fear, are afraid to counter it. If you are not “with us”, why then, you must be a black-marketeer or counterfeiter or terrorist.

The statements and counter-statements (Modi, Parrikar, Jaitley, Bhattacharya, and pertinently No Urjit Patel), seem to indicate that there are differences within the BJP. And there perhaps is our hope. Only Infighting can save us now.

The Supreme leader deals exclusively in Rhetoric. It is 1984ian in the extreme. Countering anything real, he insists on his own reality. And that then becomes the narrative which people argue  and debate about.

If, for instance, one tries to ask people to see “Cui bono?”: Who benefits from the crime? one comes up against this “Narrative wall”. Obviously it is the banks which are now flush with funds after having been saddled with large NPAs for years. But the conversation will move towards black-marketeers, terrorists and counterfeiters who are actually statistically insignificant. And then one has to counter with “But, surely you cannot fingerprint a  whole village to catch two thieves”, and lo, the narrative wall has defeated you.

The sheer audacity of this demon was such that it took a while for economists to refute bad arguments being made about what is essentially “Loot and plunder”. Is it significant that Raghuram Rajan whose voice would surely have lent weight to the critics has maintained a silence till now?  After all, he had not so long ago said, (although in a different context) “it was the ‘legitimate duty’ and ‘moral responsibility’ of public figures to tell young minds what good citizenship is about and the virtues of tolerance.”

Countering the Supreme Leader’s narrative – not just the Orwellian propaganda but also the tendency of people to say “Oh, it is for a good cause”, requires hard work on many peoples’ parts. We all have stories to tell, and we must all tell our stories. “Bol ki lab azad hai tere“. Many anecdotes make statistics.

There are also going to be protracted practical difficulties: Shortage of cash, Long queues, and a tendency to hoard money are a few I can think of. We all have to suffer as the Supreme Leader has  said, but we should at least suffer meaningfully. Let us not hoard change; let us think of those so much less fortunate than us, let us act as locally as possible; above all let us trust ordinary people to do the right thing: Given a  chance, they usually do.

Now more than ever, we have to reclaim the sense of, “I can make a difference”. A million people doing the right thing makes a right. And it takes one person  and another and another and so on to make a million.



3 Responses to “The (Many-headed) Demon”

  1. Godfrey Says:

    you say what i feel

  2. Gautam Says:

    I truly understand the predicament demonetization must have put you in. However, it would also be good to know why the digital alternatives dont work. Is it the absence of accts? or no smartphone/data plan? or awareness? or intermittent connectivity? even for 2g? or the costs? or … what?

  3. sunder and sonati Says:

    Personally, we have nothing much to complain about. For the rest, I’ll let Badri speak:
    View story at

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