by Jayant Bhandari, Acting Man:
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on 8th November 2016 that Rs 500 (~$7.50) and Rs 1,000 (~$15) banknotes would no longer be legal tender.
Here are links to Part-I, Part-II, Part-III, Part-IV, Part-V, Part-VI, Part-VII, and Part-VIII, which not only provide updates on the demonetization saga, but explore and dissect India’s culture and why in this country of 1.34 billion — more than 1 out of every 6 human beings on the planet — so many exist in wretched poverty in this modern age, in an insect-like existence.
Oppression, exploitation, extreme stress, and the resulting millions of untimely deaths every year possibly make the story of the post-independent India one of the biggest crimes against humanity. Alas,it is getting worse.
As I explored in earlier updates, Indian institutions were designed to be run by the British. With them no longer at the helm, these institutions have mutated over the last 70 years to accommodate the underlying irrationality, tribalism, and superstitions of India. They have slowly but surely crumbled away, decaying and becoming degraded.
Indian democracy today is simply mob rule, its educational system little but propaganda, and its citizens are mere cogs in the service of the State. Indian institutions, including the Supreme Court, are far from independent. They are yes-men to India’s prime minister, the demagogue Narendra Modi.
India never properly assimilated the concepts of reason, liberty or individuality. When these concepts were offered by Europeans free of cost on a plate, Indians completely failed to take notice them. All they saw and copied was the facade of western lifestyle: clothing, music, cinema, food, etc.
Under Modi, India’s degradation has picked up pace. Today the country is a full-fledged banana republic. However, all of this had to happen eventually, with or without Modi. India is fated to disintegrate into tribal fiefdoms at some point. That is the direction it has embarked on.
All of this can be said to apply to almost every country in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. What has slightly differentiated India — at least in the eyes of the international media, if not in reality — was the possibility of free speech at the margin.
India’s diversity — and the internal conflicts resulting from it — delayed the onset of full-fledged institutional totalitarianism. Alas, rising Hindu nationalism (Hindutava) is now rapidly weaving these heterogeneous groups of people into a totalitarian whole.
And now, India is rapidly losing one of the most important institutions introduced by the British: freedom of speech.
A scene from last December; if you want to go about exchanging or depositing your banknotes in Modi’s India, expect to be humiliated.
A writer should be interested in providing facts in as balanced a way as possible. He should be able to change his views as facts change and as his dispassionate understanding of the facts changes. I want to use this occasion to address some of the criticisms I have received over my articles on the currency ban.
When I wrote the first article on the subjet of demonetization immediately after the announcement, I was ridiculed for exaggerating. There was almost nothing about the event in the international press for many weeks thereafter. Very slowly it did get around to informing readers that all was not right with India. Bloomberg, Forbes, et al. eventually came out with scathing articles.
After two months, the IMF reduced its GDP growth forecast for India, from 7.6% to 6.6%. I disagree with this figure. Everywhere I look, I find the economy suffering and/or stagnating: businesses failing, people going bankrupt, and a large section of society going into economic seizure. From what I have seen, growth is probably negative. I expect GDP to fall. The IMF will very likely have to revisit its numbers.
India’s mainstream press has been mostly silent — most are puppets of Modi these days. There has been virtually no reporting from the rural and tribal areas, where 75% of India’s citizens live. There is hardly any information on what is happening in smaller towns.
I have written eight updates, while traveling in India and investigating the situation. Based on all I have seen and discussed, the situation is a lot grimmer than mainstream media reports suggest.
Do I detest Modi? Yes, I do. Do I work for any other political parties? No, I do not. Neither of these matter, for the real fountainhead of India’s problems is not politics. Politics is merely a symptom of the extremely corrupt, irrational, and tribal culture of India.
Do I exaggerate when I call India a banana republic that is increasingly turning into a police state? Do I exaggerate when I call it a fascist state? Not at all. Once again, in due course the reality will assert itself sufficiently that the international media will have no choice but to catch up with it.
Indian cinema halls play the national anthem before the start of every movie. In the past I have remained sitting, suppressing my revulsion while watching people standing up in dutiful obeisance. Recently the Supreme Court ruled though that everybody must stand up. I can now be arrested for treason if I remain sitting.
When I recently went to watch a new release, Dangal, I timed my entry so as to arrive in the cinema after the anthem had ended. I had no luck. They included the anthem in the movie as well, as part of the story. When it started playing, people anxiously started looking around, unsure whether to stand up or not. Slowly but surely, everyone stood up.
If watching this does not make one feel like puking, one’s gag reflex is probably not in working order (i.e., it is time to let a doctor examine the chemo-receptor trigger zone located in the fourth brain ventricle). First principles tell me that India is in an advanced stage of becoming a police state.
Do I write so negatively about India in order to earn brownie points from Westerners? Hardly. The West is so firmly in the grip of political correctness today, that most Westerners dislike me for saying what I do. I have no hope to ever get a job in a “normal” western organization. However, a writer’s task is to write what he sees, not what he thinks may please his audience.
The reality of India (and many similar countries) must be understood for the sake of their wretched poor people. How can one be of any use if one doesn’t properly understand their problems? A faulty understanding of these societies has resulted in Europe suffering a migrant crisis. The West must understand for its own sake how deeply entrenched cultural traits are.
Neither the West nor the rest of the world has the luxury to sugar-coat reality. There is indeed a lot of fake news around, but the worst of it emanates from governments and their despicable cronies in the mainstream media.
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