By Santosh Bhartiya
A few days ago someone narrated an old story that I want to mention here. There was a king. One day two dressmakers paid a visit to him. They claimed that they make dresses using divine thread brought directly from the heaven, and that they make dresses for the gods. Impressed by their claim, the king asked them to make a similar dress for him as well, and promised a hefty reward. The dress-makers accepted the deal and asked for 50 days to complete the task. At the same time, they also apprise the king with the special feature of the dress: ‘only fools can’t see the dress.’
This made the king happier, as it would enable him to identify the fools among his subjects. Anyway, the dressmakers got off to their work in a closed room. All this while their room emitted clacking and clattering sound till late in the night. One day the king sent his minister to assess the progress of work. No sooner did the minister enter the room one of the dressmakers said, “Look, Mr. Minister, how beautiful is the thread!” The minister could not see anything but mindful of the claim that “only fools can’t see the dress”, his answer was: “very beautiful”. Back to the palace he told the king that “the dress is coming out beautifully.” The King became very happy and one day he took upon himself to take the stock of the progress in work, but he too could not make out what was being made. He said to himself that he is foolish and his minister is intelligent. Lest he be called foolish, he kept quite. In the end, the dress was ready. The dressmakers announced that they would dress the king in front of his subjects, and then he will be parade. The next day, the king was dressed in a dress that nobody could see, but no one spoke the truth, fearing they might be called fools. The King came out naked, with great splendor.
This story is a perfect fit for today’s situation, as the demonetization has dealt a blow on everybody, but none is expressing it, fearing that their patriotism and their loyalty to the country may be questioned. If a soldier can stand at the border, why cannot you stand in a queue? Everybody is being coerced in the name of the country. Everybody is praising the move as the subjects of the above kingdom praised the dress of the king. Anyway, 50 days (time sought to see the positive result of demonetization) are not far away, the consequences of demonetization will be for everybody to see that how the country get transformed; how inflation be reduced; how corruption be dealt with; how black money be tackled and even if the country could not do this, then at least we will have a cashless economy.
Our Prime Minister rates social media highly. He apprised the soldiers that they are being praises on social media. He called upon the people to go digital as well. Our finance minister claims that 50 percent, i.e. half of 1.25 billion, people are on the Internet. What is the source of his information, only he knows? As far as our information is concerned around 60 million people in India are connected to social media via internet, and 6 million of them are staunch supporter of the Prime Minister, who formed a group. Two and a half thousand people in the country are on the payroll of the party that the prime minister belongs to and they fight pitched battle day in and day out on social media in his favour. If the government, or our prime minister for that matter, takes decision based on the opinion of this social media group, then there is no qualm in it, but such decision making bear greater risks of getting tangled yourself into the same trap of falsehood that has entrapped 6o million people who are making different kinds of opinion. Such people do not see the helplessness of farmers; such people do not feel the pain of those workers who have lost their jobs; such people do not see the pain of vendors, rickshaw puller, small shopkeepers, and the supply chain scattered across the village throughout the country. This pain has been entrapped in the deception of social media.
If you wish to test the water, just write anything against the policies of the prime minister. After that you will find whether we are in a democracy or are under the dictatorship of fools. The assault on your freedom for the quest of truth and freedom of speech will make you stunned. They will abuse you invoking the names of mothers, sisters, and daughters. For the past two and a half years their stand is not stable on one thing. Now they are not seeing black money, and they just see cashless society. Now they cannot see the pain of poor farmers. They have become deaf and blind to the promises that the government had made.
I am saying this because the reality facing the country is one thing, and the scream and ridiculous squid of the world of social media is another thing. I would like to called upon all these people that they spread as much lie on social media as they want, throw insult and abuse according to their liking, confuse the people as much as they wish, as there are many kinds of wooden pans that have been put on stoves in the country. There is a saying that wooden pan cannot be put on the stove the second time, but if someone has lots of pans, then what one can do? However, everything in the country is being connected with patriotism these days; a new crop of patriots has popped up in the country. If you do not abuse Pakistan, you are unpatriotic. If you do not support demonetization, you are unpatriotic, but if you talk about sufferings of the poor, their jobs being snatched away and diminishing employment opportunities in the country, then you are a traitor or anti-national. A new debate of who is nationalist and who is anti-national has been raging in the country. In fact the social media has obliterated the traditional definition of patriotism and treason. Be that as it may, the least I can say that it is better that our country has not been digitalized, because the government which is unable even to mend glitches in mobile phone services is talking of a cashless economy. The dream is not bad, but what is the guarantee that hackers will not clean the accounts of middle class people. If you fall victim of a fraud, then the bank does not address your problem. On the contrary the bank is addressing the grievances of those who have fled the country with millions and millions of rupees. Banks are vying with each other in their stint of loan and interest waiver. Should the properties of the chairman of banks or finance ministry officials not investigated? When we speak of black money, then why we waive the loans of willful defaulters. Such questions come to mind, but these questions are meaningless for those who are singing the song of patriotism on social media. Indeed, these are the biggest traitor or anti-nationals who are misleading the government of the country and spreading innovative rumors.