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Why we love to talk about and think of 'Black Money' so much

The Great Indian Middle Class is obsessed with 'Black Money'. We get you 5 reasons to explain why.

Dwaipayan Bose |

Updated:October 30, 2014, 1:32 PM IST
Why we love to talk about and think of 'Black Money' so much
The Great Indian Middle Class is obsessed with 'Black Money'. We get you 5 reasons to explain why.
The Great Indian Middle Class is obsessed with 'Black Money'. Here are 5 reasons why: - It is forbidden, therefore too attractive a concept. The government wants every rupee of yours to be either taxed or exempted from taxation - but declared and accounted for. In other words, Big Brother wants to know all about it. The 'Blackness' of black money lies in its delicious secrecy - like banned literature, underground societies, hidden fantasies. The only difference lies in the fact that it's money, hence quite useful.
- It has been the raison d'être of many a Bollywood flick. Every villain of the 70s and 80s worth his Black Label has either given or taken hard cash stashed in leather briefcases. The possibility of this money being 'post-tax' is extremely low. At times this case full of 'Black Money' would have a bomb or two and even poisonous snakes hidden -- mind you, no symbolism here or a moral message, but sheer villainy. The outcome of this Bollywoodisation of 'Black Money' was that it became a household term with the 'colourful' prefix being extended to movie tickets bought from touts to kerosene and cooking gas. - And who doesn't have or had some of this? For every property bought or sold some amount is paid in 'cash' (this is 'Black Money') to save on stamp duty - a 'command economy' concept that often raises the question why should the government get a cut when I am buying a home with my life's savings (which has been taxed anyways)? Pursuing this point at this time when 'Black Money' is the flavour of the season might not be judicious, but domestic unaccounted for money might just be much more that what's out there in foreign banks. - 'Black Money' also forms the bedrock of bribery, which is another national obsession and practice. That 100 rupee note slipped into palms starting from those of traffic policemen to driving licence authorities to any service provider who is being lazy is the fastest way of getting things done in this country. That's money turning 'black' in seconds and no way getting into banks and taxed. Now there are the "haven't paid a penny as bribe in my life" types, but then who's checking. - Finally, it's the ultimate discussion point in big-talking kitty parties and small-time cocktails. "This Mr Raheja na has loads of black money. Look at the ugly wife... diamonds and all. Huh!" Or "Just a maamuli officer, but look at his watch. All bloody black money... ghoos ka paisa." The speaker as well as the target might be on the same 'Black' boat, but you don't have to pay taxes to accuse someone. And in all perverseness, these 'Black Money' holders are actually looked upon with envy and a twinkle in jealous eyes. In the 90s it was a standing crack that you're no real businessman unless I-T guys have ripped open your pillow and found wads of 'kaala dhan.' Jokes apart, if you have it then declare it. Saves a lot of hassle.

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