Ever Since Narendra Modi announced the historic crackdown on black money, there has been unrestrained backlash from the opposition quarters. India’s opposition as you know is a unique entity, a unit that doesn’t just consist of the politicians but also the Main Stream Media, NGOs, and pet intellectuals. While Politicians reject every move proposed by the government, the media fabricates truth and presents it in the most concocted form, NGOs stage dharnas and protests and intellectuals add their 2 cents to provide credibility to unverified news pieces. Demonetization has now become a perfect test case to analyze the rumor industry of the opposition.
They were all taken aback by the sheer suddenness and the massive expanse of the demonetization move.
Their cash worth millions of Rupees was rendered useless. As the government started pushing the move down the throats of the corrupt, the opposition resorted to what it excels in. Rumor mongering and posturing as the mascots of welfare.
They first tried painting this as doomsday. The salt crisis was one of their very first moves. They maintained that according to this sudden, ill-planned and abrupt move there has been a huge crisis of salt in the country. The rumor was spread rapidly with the use of social media which soon was pregnant with the salt price hike. According to some reports, the price per Kg for salt skyrocketed to Rs 400.
Rumors have high virality but low longevity. The salt rumor died in less than 24 hours.
Then started the allegations about how BJP members laundered their black money and that they were notified well in advance. Congress IT cell manufactured a lie where picture of a bank employee was circulated as picture of the BJP UP Chief Keshav Prasad Maurya’s daughter. Keshav Prasad Maurya, who doesn’t have a daughter, took to twitter to expose the evildoers, even warning them about legal consequences of propagating untruth.
Then started the Gareebo-ka-Hamdard drama, where a perennially angry and unintentionally amusing Rahul Gandhi created ruckus in an ATM line. This was followed up by the high octane drama enacted by the tag team of Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal, both of whom were viciously booed before their public address at the Azadpur Mandi, New Delhi.
A unique phenomenon then hit India’s blogosphere. The liberal bloggers, most of them at Huffington Post woke up to the brutality let loose on the common populace in the name of demonetization. People started dying under mysterious conditions and almost every death somehow was linked to demonetization, reminding us of the Vyapam Scam when even natural deaths were duly attributed to it.
Also a poor thief committed suicide. This news was spun into a case of a common man committing suicide because he couldn’t get cash from bank due to demonetization. This news was Retweeted by none other than Arvind Kejriwal.
Then started another chain of rumors when the Economic Secretary Shaktikanta Das held a press conference to announce the measure of using indelible ink to put a check on converting unaccounted cash into white money by employing gullible people to exchange money at banks, repeatedly. The ink was to be used for over the counter exchange but Media went ahead and linked indelible ink with every banking transaction. Some invoked Joseph Stalin to give the public a rough estimate of the totalitarianism of the Indian Government. Funny when communists invoke Stalin to attack the right and funnier when they call a state totalitarian while freely propagating untruths in the name of press freedom.
Then people in this country started deriving pleasure out of rubbing the new 2000 notes. Vloggers churned videos after videos establishing how the new note is not water proof and that it bleeds color. They forgot to check the existing 1000 Rupees notes before propagating this absurd conspiracy theory. Poor Economic Secretary Shaktikanta Das had to offer an explanation again. He explained that every note will bleed color if rubbed after soaking in water.
Then came the mother of all rumors. Currency notes coming out of ATMs were believed to be carrying STD spreading viruses, briefly reminding us of Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Qayamat’ where an entire city is held hostage by two goons who are about to unleash deadly viruses in air and water of the city. Can Ajay Devgn save the city? Anyways, India’s premiere News Portal India Today published this news.
Apart from these there were reports about widespread violence in ATM and bank queues, a rumor which was snubbed by Police Department; A viral news article about a Surat based diamond merchant who surrendered a mindboggling 6000 crore rupees at the bank, he was alleged to be the same guy who gifted Narendra Modi his notoriously-famous monogrammed suit.
The whole desperation of the opposition of India reminds me of this dialogue by Nick Fury from The Avengers:
“How desperate am I? You threaten my world with war. You steal a force you can’t hope to control. You talk about peace and you kill ’cause it’s fun. You have made me VERY desperate.”
In this case Modi has stolen black money from the hoarders and threatened their dark realm with war. Yes he has made them very desperate. The only difference in this case is Nick Fury seems to speak from the opposition benches.