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Love, demonetised

Long, long ago, so long ago it seems like another lifetime altogether, I had a girlfriend I totally adored. She dated other boys too but I didn’t mind. She didn’t always take my calls. She carried on for weeks as if I didn’t exist. But she did accept all my presents, all my exam notes, and allowed me to pay all the bills when we went out. She was quite generous that way.

Devotion song

My only mission in life was to be her most devoted slave, her most preferred servant. I loved her so much I would have transported beef to Bareilly if she’d asked me to. I would have eaten the roach-enriched food served by Indian Railways and admitted myself in Gorakhpur’s BRD hospital, if she’d asked me to. Or stood in a queue for 72 hours without food, water or alcohol, even if she hadn’t asked me to.

Now, I am aware that I am not a Deepika Padukone or a Sonakshi Sinha that you would be interested in reading about my love life. But I owe this past life regression to last week’s big revelations.

Yes, I am referring to demonetisation. Everyone is asked me the same two questions: why is no one angry? And why was it done? It is clear now that not one of its purported aims was achieved. So where is the rage? Why are there no mass protests?

Is it possible, as my father keeps reminding me, that we are a nation of ‘double-filtered’ morons? Are we the only country in the world where all the people can be fooled all of the time? Are we sadomasochists, that we love gratuitous punishment? Or, as a colleague put it, are we ‘sodomasochists’?

Well, my friends asked me similar questions all those years ago when I gave this girlfriend my bike, my helmet, my raincoat, and two cinema tickets purchased on my measly pocket money. I did so without hesitation when she informed me at the last minute that she had changed her mind, and wished to watch this romantic blockbuster not with me but with a ‘cousin’ visiting from another city.

I told my chortling friends back then that they did not understand the nature of true love. I would say the same today to all those wondering why Indians aren’t enraged at being taken for a ride.

The people of India love their Prime Minister. They love him the way I loved this girl. This is not an ordinary love based on cost-benefit calculations. It is a divine, unconditional, proto-Vedic love. It is bhakti. That’s why people who surrender to such love are called ‘bhakts’.

If tomorrow, the Prime Minister were to come on TV at 8 p.m. and announce that from October 1, everyone must donate one finger to the government in order to make Digital India a reality, I assure you there will be serpentine queues of people dying to give him their finger.

So let’s get this straight. Demonetisation is not about the economy. It never was. Nor is it some ‘political masterstroke’, as some over-enthusiastic bhakts are claiming. At its core, the demonetisation exercise was nothing but that: an exercise. It was a drill like the ones conducted in military academies and shakhas every morning. The objective was the same: the perfection of obedience.

Essence of greatness

Any nation that seeks greatness needs two things: a great leader, and a population that can be trusted to blindly obey the great leader. We already have a great leader. But an obedient populace is still a work in progress, as not everyone has the aptitude to become a bhakt. Hence the need for drills such as demonetisation. Ideally, we should have something like demonetisation every six months, so that people get used to obeying quietly instead of asking 10,000 questions.

Some might say that this is akin to slavery, and they would be right. The world’s greatest civilisations — be it the ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, or the seven kingdoms of Westeros — were all built on slavery. That’s why Aadhaar is an absolute necessity, for the surveillance options it offers are the only way to transmute the rebellious elements in the population into reliable slaves. Actually, the term ‘slave’ doesn’t quite capture the nature of slavery that is unique to this land. The correct term is ‘cattle’.

Have you ever seen a cow protest? Or get angry? Or question the mysterious ways of its master? As you already know, to change the world, you must first change yourself. And to make India a great nation, all Indians must embrace their new unique identity as cattle.

So here’s my humble request to all my fellow Indians: ask not what demonetisation has done for you; instead, ask your inner cow what your biometrics can do for the nation.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 12:08:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/love-demonetised/article19611524.ece

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