On 8 November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dramatic and unprecedented step of demonetising high denomination currency notes in an effort to ‘fight black money, eliminate counterfeit notes and stop terror funding’. The pronouncement of 8/11 goes down in history as the day one of the intensely debated economic policy intervention of the Modi government. With abolition of the legal tender status of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, about 86 per cent of the currencies in circulation were withdrawn from the economy. The purpose, according to the government, was to stamp out counterfeit currency, unearth black money, and usher in a less-cash economy.
The decision provoked fierce and widespread debate which is more distinct today. It has now become clear that demonetization was a fruitless exercise and the objectives have not been met with success.The dark side of this decision was that people suffered, some lost their lives at the time of exchanging old notes, economy suffered too badly and the overall job scenario got terrible after demonetization.
Several books have come out in the past three years on demonetization – some by leading economists and some by renowned journalists. ‘Decoding Life Post 8/11’ by Indranil Roy is a brand new addition to the existing books on demonetization but with a difference. This is a work of fiction and each of the forty stories woven back to front is to be savoured with a zest. It has been written for every Indian for whom demonetization came as a bolt from the blue and for every citizen who had a horrible experience during those ninety days when he had to stand on long queue in front of banks.
As the blurb says, ‘Most people were hurt financially, while Arjun,Nisha and Sunny saw their world tumbling down before them. Left with no option but to combat against it, they decided to stand by each other to confront the emotionally catastrophic situation together’. While the country was struggling to get in terms with the unprecedented economic turmoil, the principal characters had other social evils to stand up against like AIDS, black money et al.
The language of the narrative is uncomplicated and fluid.Indranil Roy is a teacher by profession and has studied English in Rabindra Bharati University. He has authored a novel too. The author is a conscientious objector and his world invariably ‘celebrates human bonding which goes beyond blood relationships.’
Roy’s book on the affects and travails of demonetization, although fictionalized, shows his apolitical link. ‘Decoding Life Post 8/11’ does justice to the subject and is an inventive work. You hardly get to read imaginary tales on such contemporary and contentious issues. The author’s sensibilities and his hunt for characters are remarkable.
Decoding Life Post 8/11
Frog Books/Leadstart Publishing
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