The most path-changing inventions and discoveries in our world have often been unintentional.
Like Christopher Columbus set off to discover India and ended up finding the land of abundance, the United States of America. Wilhelm Roentgen was fiddling around with inconsequential cathode rays when he ended up inventing the X-ray. Even Cornflakes were invented only because Will Kellogs was too lazy to put the boiled wheat dough into the refrigerator!
Similarly, something magical happened on the night of November 8th 2016 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his grandiose demonetisation drive. What set off as a purely financial exercise, mainly with the intention of cleaning up a huge chunk of parallel economy, ended up awakening the collective conscience of our nation.
With demonetisation, a hitherto sleeping giant was awoken from its deep slumber. This giant is called Humanity.
Humanity suddenly woke up to the misery of India’s wretched millions. Countless nameless people who had fallen through the cracks of our society and had lost all hopes of ever being heard, magically found a voice. All of a sudden Humanity was curious. Is there someone standing in a line who I must look out for? A poor farmer, a pregnant woman, or a retired army man?
The poor farmer, who had lost his land to land sharks close to the established ecosystem and had all along been exploited by corrupt governments, has finally found a saviour. Never mind that the water meant for irrigation of his fields was diverted to sugar mills run by crafty politicians. Humanity will now be his voice. His tears will be given a platform as soon as humanity is able to connect their source to demonetisation.
The army man also has found his benefactor. The brave soldier who has been struggling to fight for his dues off field and is managing to fight with substandard equipment on it. His misery of 60 years is finally about to end. Humanity will find him standing in a bank queue and rush to his rescue. His face, streaming with tears will be splashed across and heart rending headlines will call out to his plight.
The poorest of poor children, who have all along been denied medical treatment, education and even basic rights like food can now rejoice. Because humanity is now awake. All it needs to figure out is a way to connect their plight to the evil demonetisation.
Humanity has some pet peeves. Long queues outside banks are on the top of the list. If humanity had been awake when millions of people spent half their lives queueing up outside ration shops for basic food items, it would have been very angry. It would have also lost its cool at the ghastly divide of the poor and the rich. It would have taken strong exception to the fact that so many in our country went hungry and malnourished as they had no “cash” to buy food.
Humanity would have certainly hated the fact that people were classified as rich if they earned more than 29 rupees a day while the rich stashed their lockers, mattresses and hidden lofts with currency.
But we can all now heave a sigh of relief. For demonetisation may or may not succeed with its original objectives but our nation should be thankful that the unintended consequences of this diabolic scheme have had far reaching noble effects.
Humanity is finally awake after 65 years. An achievement that no other government has succeeded with in the past.