As the Modi government, in a bold step, by demonetizing 500 rupee and 1000 rupee currency notes has promised to recover ‘black money’ and combat ‘terrorism’, the horrors of this move have shaken the entire country, especially the most vulnerable section of the society who earn their living through daily wages by selling their blood and sweat.
This is the experience of a painter living in Mumbai who earns Rs. 500 for a day’s work. As he is not a permanent worker, his wages depend upon the days he can find work. With Modi announcing the demonetization of rupee 500 and 1000 notes, he has been unable to find any work. Being the only earning member of the family, lack of job puts his entire family into trouble.
Now that Mr. Modi has appealed to the people to maintain calm for the next 50 days while he brings back the ‘black money’ from the ‘rich’, the people continue their struggle to get by each day.
A fruit seller accounts the result of demonetization on her, who is one among the 93% of the unorganized sector of the Indian working class. She tells how despite working each day from morning till the night, she has been unable to make 50 rupees a day. In spite of exercising her fundamental right to vote and participating in the democracy, she is disappointed that the state has not been able to deliver anything as she continues to share her plight. The recurrent issue of change for the new 2000 rupees currency note has directly impacted her everyday earning as she hardly has the change to return the customer on a purchase of Rs. 100, hence she is forced to decline the purchase. Even the small amount of old denominations of 500 and 1000 had to be exchanged in the market at a loss of 50 rupees.
She has left us wondering how much share of black money is accumulated with the poor juxtaposed to rich.
Women, in both rural and urban India are the most affected by this ‘masterstroke’ of Mr. Modi. More than 80% of women still remain outside the banking system in the new digital India yet many of them manage to save some cash for the day to day requirements of their households. It is a tragedy that this money, saved by the women, have become the target of demonetization.
This Episode is about the Koli fisherwomen of Mumbai who are bearing the brunt of this sudden demonetization. They are highly disillusioned by the government who comes begging to them for votes, but ends up protecting the rich. But when the poor needs the government, why don’t they listen?
Nine days has passed since Modi government has declared a ‘war’ against ‘black money’ by demonetizing Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes, claiming lives of almost 55 people. As the days pass by, the queues do not seem to get any shorter and the lives of the common people seem to have lost all importance.
As Hiraben, Modi’s mother, walks inside the bank to deposit cash in the bank, the media publicized it, ignoring the millions of old women, standing in queues for hours, day after day, to exchange small amount of currencies. The apathy of the government cannot be unseen. Despite declaring token provisions to counter the crisis, no concrete steps are taken to ensure effective solutions. For instance, all hospitals and medical shops have to accept the old currency notes, but due to the lack of disposable change, they do not accept the old notes. Hence, people have been unable to avail basic medical facilities.
This Episode accounts the struggle of the working class women of Bombay, who are forced to stand in long queues, sacrificing their daily wages. It also narrates how the working class remain the most exploited, who are compelled to accept old currency notes from their employers. These women condemn the anti-people policy of the government.
As the large population of the country is standing in long queues, an old woman of 75 years of age describes her current situation while waiting for her turn outside KYS bank, branch Govandi in Mumbai. She has been waiting for her chance since morning and this video was shot at around 4:30 pm.