An excellent piece by Ninad Vengurlekar, who has 15 years in Education technology.
He is a co-founder @ Sling App, and has done his Masters in Education technology from Harvard.
I was taken over by our PM’s audacity, his resolve, his emotional appeal, and then tears. He said give
me 50 days or else persecute me. I thought, if the head of the country is so confident about what he is
doing, obviously he knows something that his critics don’t. My support to demonetization came from this
trust in the PM. A billion people thought like me. I was not alone.
10 months later, a friend told me, “Chutya banaya Modi ne.” I said, “Shayad”. And we both laughed at
But did Modi make a fool of the country? Maybe he did. But he never intended to. He was genuine when he
believed that there is black money that would be unearthed out of demonetization. It will break the
backs of terror organisations. Corruption will be dealt a severe blow by killing the cash economy and
digital transactions will be up. Yes, UP elections would also be on his mind.
But I was sure no sane person would put the entire country through discomfort, cause deaths, wipe out
incomes of the poor, just to win UP.
This was my hunch. My personal reason for support to demonetization was because I genuinely believed
that digital transactions would finish the cash economy.
But I was wrong and how.
The economic cost of demonetization was never thought through, especially on the poor. Millions lost
their jobs, industries closed down, NPAs went up and banks came under undue pressure to recover SME
loans. The spiral effect was probably never imagined to be so devastating.
Digital transactions are down. Corruption looks unconquered. Worst, all the so called “black money” has
come back to the system. GDP is down to a historic low. And now RBI has stopped short of saying that
demonetization was a dare gone horribly wrong.
I remembered an interview I shared a few months ago by Ashis Nandy, where he said that Modi has the
right intent, but lacks imagination. Maybe he was right. Somewhere, between intent, imagination, and
execution, this BJP government has realised the difference between perceptions and reality,
sloganeering and delivery.
So what went wrong?
As I look back, I realise that BJP has made one cardinal mistake after coming to power. They changed
the goalpost. They were voted to develop an economically strong India, but they ended up focusing on
winning assembly elections.
Never in the history of India has a PM of a country been so liberally used to garner votes and win
State elections. Between May 2014 and August 2017, assembly elections were fought in around 19 States
of India. Assuming the PM spent an average of 20 days in planning and speaking at rallies per election,
that totals up to 380 days, or 1 whole year. When 30% of a PM’s time is spent in achieving personal
goals, the country is bound to suffer.
Which is why when there were no great outcomes to showcase, the country was kept busy with issues like
national anthem, cow protection, pakistan, religious supremacy, patriotism, missions and schemes of so
called national importance, terror politics, and so on.
And now, when they still have 2 more years to deliver Acche Din, BJP has already launched a “A New
India Mission” for 2017-22. But what about Acche Din? Isn’t Acche Din and New India the same concepts
in spirit? So have they pushed their promise of Acche Din by 3 more years? Why don’t they tell us
Sometimes I feel this government suffers from a Bipolar Disorder. It hallucinates about an India it is
incapable to deliver. It works very hard, but it cannot connect the dots to deliver the economic
development it promised. Many a times, it creates audacious schemes and depends on nationalism and
patriotism to deliver results. It believes that India’s glorious 5000 year history will magically
transform India’s future.
For every criticism it is unable to counter, it uses fake accounts and paid media to drum up mass
hysteria on social media and TV. Soldier sacrifices are used to counter political misdemeanors.
Rational thinkers are called names like presstitutes, anti-national, pakistani agents, sickulars, and
whatever else. My way or Highway. Which is why people like Khattar, Adityanath and Subramanian Swamy
are celebrated in their regime, but Raghuram Rajan has to pack his bags and leave.
What I am apalled to see that even after 3 years, the political support base of Modi and BJP refuse to
ask questions and justifies every wrong done by their favourite party. They are still living in the
comforts of a fantasy called Acche Din.
Educated people who otherwise would not tolerate such non performance in their professional lives are
finding creative excuses to justify the incompetency of their political icons. What they have
essentially done in the past 3 years is to put the government in a comfort zone of mediocrity.
And it’s not just in politics, mediocrity is the norm all over India. Republic and Zee News enjoy
highest TRPs, Madhur Bhandarkar wins a Padma Shri, Pahlaj Nihalani becomes the CBFC Chief and is
replaced by Acche Din creator Prasoon Joshi, Gajendra Chauhan has the time of his life as a FTII
Chairman, academicians are talking of unscientific concepts of Hindu history, textbooks are being
rewritten to erase Mughal history, a VC is recommending battle tanks to be installed in every
university campus, gau rakshaks are being systematically shielded, stones are being laid at Ayodhya
site against the law, news channels that speak against the government are being threatened, students
are being sent to jail, fake news is celebrated and justified….the list is endless. And all this is
happening with unstinted support of the BJP loyalists who defend anything and everything against the
party they love.
In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand accurately describes the condition of this country under the BJP rule –
“People don’t want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by
some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they’ll bless and
follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue – a highly
intellectual virtue – out of what they know to be their sin, their weakness and their guilt. They envy
achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged
inferiors. They don’t know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of
world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear.”
Hope things will change. There are 2 more years, and I still have hope in BJP and Modi to do a
turnaround. Meanwhile, I refuse to sit tight and stop questioning.
Just because we have no choice does not mean we need to bend backwards to please this government. Only
if we question will they improve, only if they improve will they survive, and only if they survive this
term will they get elected for next term.
Trust me on this.
– Ninad Vengurlekar