Money, Power and Demonetisation in India


This sculpture was made with reused materials, the wooden stand was sourced from a scraps dealers, and the mountboard used to make the sculpture was found in a paper recycling market, I covered it with scans of the now discontinued ₹500 and ₹1000 notes in India. It was inspired by this essay I wrote during the demonetisation in India in 2016.


Money, Power and Demonetisation in India

We are battling between the new and the old- the new excites us with its possibilities and the old teaches us the values of practice and patience. Demonetisation in India is an example of how the quarrelling couple- old ways of going to the bank to get cash, came to bite the new ways of online transactions a living nightmare in the Asian market. It was introduced in order to revive the black money cycling in the market and due to the short period of time from the day of the announcement to the day given to ‘get you money changed’ would’ve caused a stampede- but alas! As we stand in queues around the ‘gol-chakkar’(roundabout) near the bank and ATM in order to get the last 2000 note of the day- it almost became a joke for the masses that we were being treated to a new note.

A conversation I overheard at the ATM:

‘Why do we need this- its actually wasting paper’

‘Well, it’s made partly of plastic to not be perished by the rain’

hmmm, it’s plastic so it’s still harming the environment then!’

Well, this got me thinking, we don’t care about the bigger picture- which is the amount of liquid money that surfaced from a corrupt political economy like India was close to causing a recession in the current years if the creative mastermind of Mr. ‘Ache din Ayenge’ man. This trend of people with power ends up exploiting the ones below them- that men with power have a tendency of using it in a way which causes people to gain their trust in them in an instant and then it is a slippery slope of breaking the promises made and then fixing the mistakes made for the rest of time. So even though technology has advanced and now you can use a card and your phone to pay- literally anywhere, believe me, you want paani puri in India- you can pretty much pay for it PayTM (Indian PayPal); we are still ruled by our needs, wants, desires. And for an animal who is greedy, it is easy for them to get what they want with a tactical approach to their thinking and behaviour- before you know it they are ruling a nation of million people or writing to a hundred!