Much later, historians in the 22nd Century would call it a ‘close shave’ for Indian democracy and a ‘hair razing’ experience for millions of citizens. And yet, when it happened real-time -everyone was simply lost for words.

The year was 2018 and in an emotional address on primetime TV, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had exhorted his countrymen to part with all their hair to ‘Save the Nation’. There was simply no precedent, in all of world history, for such a ‘barberous’ policy.

Cultivation or possession of black hair by Indian citizens had been made a criminal offence, punishable by up to 7 years in prison. Everyone would have to deposit their dark locks at specially designated centres, that would be open 10 AM to 5 PM on all days (except Tuesdays and national holidays).

The Hair Bank of India (HBI), set up to regulate all hair circulating in the country, explained only black hair from citizens above the age of 16 years would be confiscated by the state. All others could chill and let their hair down– nothing to worry at all (till the next bizarre Message to the Nation). The HBI would not disclose however, how much hair was already in their possession when the policy was declared, citing  possible ‘threat to their lives’.

The new rules were in fact announced on 8 November 2018 – exactly two years after Modi’s shocking demonetisation decree – that  had plunged the entire Indian economy into crisis, brought business to a halt and thrown millions out of jobs. There was already much misery in the  nation, when Modi took to the airwaves.

Mitron!Brothers and Sisters! We need every patriotic Indian to sacrifice their black hair to strike terrorism at its very roots” he said, not bothering to explain the connection between the first and second part of the sentence. Later one of his ministers explained the two were linked as‘surgical’ skills were required to accomplish both tasks.

The constant use of theatre, along with such dubious logic,had become a trademark Narendra Modi strategy the Indian public was quite familiar with by now. In fact so much so, the method – dubbed ‘Modis Operandi’ – was already being taught in top business schools around the country and even abroad.

Modi bhakts believed this contribution alone entitled their leader to a Nobel Prize – in any field – economics, medicine, physics, peace whatever, as long as it was a real Nobel Prize (like the one given to ‘Barrack’).

Further, according to them, Modi was the greatest thinker India had ever produced since Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU). This man DDU, who Modi considered his political mentor,was famous for Earth-shattering wisdom like, “Ask not what your country can do for YOU, Ask what your country can DO to other countries!” or “Give me your blood, sweat and tears and I will give you FREE counselling on character building”.

It was not long before the HBI started issuing a series of amendments to the original order. One clarification said union cabinet ministers, holy men, RSS members above the rank of shakha pramukhs and movie stars were exempted from provisions of the new policy. Subsequently the agency excluded petrol pump owners, Marathi theatre personalities and the children/relatives of Bal Thackeray also – the last being justified by the claim that taking the ‘Bal’ out of a Thackeray could result in sudden death.

Being very obedient citizens thousands of Indians stood for long hours in the sun, waiting in queues to have their hair taken away – only to be disappointed when saloons turned them away. The government it seems had failed to ensure adequate supply of blades and sharp knives (these had already been allocated for use in the state assembly elections by the ruling party).

They were nevertheless very happy standing in queues, simply because – like with the Indian caste system- no matter how far behind you were, there was always some bloke who arrived a little later than you did. And after all, as DDU once said “Happiness lies in measuring the misery of thy neighbour”.

Many Indians however, did muster enough courage to say on television the policy was ‘good for the country’ but ‘poorly implemented’. What they said privately of course cannot be printed or circulated on social media – as that may lead to charges of sedition and make this article unfit for children to read.

Interestingly, some Indians even argued strongly in favour of the government’s idiotic move, claiming that Modi was cleverly diverting attention from real issues such as poverty, joblessness and ecological disaster. Acknowledging these, they said, might ‘alert the enemy’ to the nation’s vulnerabilities. This was, in other words, a major psyops program meant to make foes scratch their heads while Indians patted their own bald ones.

The suave and smooth-talking Indian Finance Minister said that Indians, minus the burden of hair, would be now much more relaxed and lighter. This could enable India to move faster and get ahead of the rest of the world.As everything in the universe was circular, by going very far ahead he claimed the country would actually return to its ‘Golden Hindu Past’.

Not surprisingly, there were also ‘anti-national’ sections of the population, who tried to subvert the new law’s noble objectives by any means. The Indian spirit of ‘jugaad’ – which basically means paying scant respect to both the Indian Penal Code and the laws of Nature – was on full display.

Many converted their black hair into white easily, using a variety of creams and lotions sold by a yoga guru– who advised the public to stand on their heads to avoid detection by the police in case his products did not work.

In the meanwhile – as people started asking whether Shaving the Nation was really the same as Saving the Nation – several conspiracy theories emerged. One was that a bunch of scientists, at a secret lab in the United States, had found a way of converting human hair into an extremely sought-after mineral used in the electronics and mobile phone industries. The Indian government’s move, it was believed, was to sell all the hair they could lay their scissors on to global buyers, to pay off India’s foreign debts.

“Yes, Indian citizens will be physically deficit because of our policy, but this will surely help reduce the country’s fiscal deficit” said a portly, balding ruling party spokesman with big eyes,on a TV talk show.

Government propaganda painted the vision of  a future India where energy would be abundant – thanks to solar rays reflected from a billion plus shining Indian heads. ‘Give me HAIR and I will take you THERE!’ was the new Modi mantra, promoted everywhere by state agencies.

The hyper-patriotic media ran silly stories about how India would now definitely become the world’s biggest superpower since Indians had more facial and body hair than the Chinese, who despite their larger population had less to harvest.

It was somewhere in the middle of these completely nonsensical happenings that the big story broke – a small Gujarati newspaper had finally cracked the truth behind the regime’s  ‘war on black hair’.

According to the Surat-based newspaper, the entire policy of confiscating the nation’s treasure of black hair was born out of linguistic confusion over the term ‘cashless’. It seems, given the number of Gujaratis in top government positions, at some point, they had started referring to it as ‘keshless’. For long it was just a little joke circulating within the top echelons of power.

Later, when the ‘cashless economy’ idea proved an obvious failure,  top bureaucrats convinced Mr Modi to quietly shift the goalpost and call for a ‘keshless economy’ instead. The focus of attack would not be black ‘cash’ but black ‘kesh’, which was the only thing of any value left with most Indians anyway.

The final push came when the idea was backed by a little-known, conservative think tank, which claimed Brahmins like Chanakya in ancient India had achieved wisdom and power by shearing hair, while ordinary mortals wasted time decorating their mane.

Modi liked the concept for purely political reasons. Since his rivals were much younger than him – the move would keep them busy guarding their black wealth – while he romped home to victory inthe next general elections.

The Gujarati billionaire, who pushed the idea of demonetisation back in 2016 to boost his digital money business, was not very amused though. He apparently told Modi, Oh tari !! Mein cashless kidhutu, keshlessnai.. babuchak !” or “What the hell! I said ‘cashless’ not ‘keshless’ you idiot!”

Modi’s response, according to very lowly placed sources, went something like this: “Listen, what the public really wants in this country is a ‘Mukeshless Economy’ and I am desperately trying to keep them distracted with various strategies. You are the idiot and an ungrateful one too”.

Satya Sagar is a journalist and public health worker who can be reached at This article was written in response to Mr Modi’s statement in Chennai recently, at a memorial for the late Cho Ramaswamy, about the importance of ‘humour and satire’. He asked for it.

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  1. Bulletman says:

    Ha ha ha! Well written and very true!

  2. K SHESHU BABU says:

    At the end of the ‘ Modi’s operandi’ the bhakta may lose count of the inumber of people becoming ‘ Kesh- shavs’ ( corpses of hair) !!

  3. Venkat T says:

    amazing.. lets hope they dont take it seriously..

  4. Bill Malcolm says:

    Must compliment this clever piece of work. I realised as a foreigner more about the ins and outs of demonetisation than from ordinary articles, in addition to getting a better idea of the mind of Modi. Dry commentary reveals no personality, and this was a good chuckle too. Well done.

    I hope something resolves the situation soon. If anyone had a brain at the top, the scheme would have been reversed within a day or two. Apparently Modi’s ego and self-infatuation and not losing face is more important than societal chaos and lost lives. Now, that is a personal arrogance and declaration of one man being more important than millions beyond even what Trump could dream up for his own country. You can only shake your head in disbelief.

  5. jaynair26 says:

    Brilliant Bro! Simply brilliant.

  6. Walt Gelles says:

    President Trump, in a show of support with Modi’s hair-raising scheme, chopped off all his own hair. At 5:04 AM, a bald Trump tweeted: “Now they can’t make fun of my hair anymore, those stupid cheap lowlife scum. I support everything Modi is doing over there in India—lots of nuclear power plants, genetically modified food, buying tons of American weapons, and especially that amazing, fantastic Demonetization thing he did. So what, if a few tens of millions of Indians died from it, it’s good population control. Besides, they asked for it, those Indian people over there support him. Modi is Making India Great Again. He’s just amazing, and Mr. Modi and I have a great, truly great relationship, he loves me a lot.”

  7. Walt Gelles says:

    At 5:16 A.M., the newly bald President Trump tweeted again: “Modi’s DEMONization scheme is just fantastic. My top economic advisers—all billionaires and Wall Street/Goldman Sachs types—tell me that India’s DEMONization was hatched by the U.S. through our very own agency USAID, with help from Gates Foundation, eBay, Dell, Visa, etc. Modi’s playing ball with us now, he betrayed his own people. Amazing! and that can only be good for America and for India. For America it means more jobs and profits for MasterCard, Citibank, Amazon, and others who handle digital transactions. Millions of small retail stores and shopkeepers in India shut down—went bust because of Modi’s dictatorial cash-ban—so the big multinational chains can move right in and swallow up India. Fantastic! As for benefits to India, this DEMONization has already killed millions of Indians from hunger, starvation, famine, disease, and suicide as of Dec. 2018—with millions more deaths on the way. Let’s face it, folks, that country is vastly overpopulated, we need far fewer East Indians. The Indian people are totally beautiful, I love them, they’re taking it in a good spirit—few protests, no riots, zero media coverage. We need Americans to be more like those Indians so we can Make America Great Again.”
    Reports have leaked out that Trump is secretly trying on various toupees so that he can look like Alec Baldwin.

  8. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Inspired writing! The Mukeshless economy…looking forward to such a world.

  9. Bharati says:

    What a sad state of affairs for the world’s largest democracy! Day by day, the poor are losing more and more of their voice due to technological barriers and high cost of living and communication (even being able to protest injustices).

    Meanwhile a few in the cities with their multi lakh salaries per month paid by the foreign capitalis who have their own exploitation interests are highly applauding this move to go keshless.

    India is an experimental bed and dump site for anything for the foreign interests. Be it environmental waste, human waste, demonetisation on a vast scale, experimenting new and potentially mortal drugs, genetically modified foods and whatever else would legally implicate the same foreign nationals to huge financial disaster in their own countries. All this because we have a very sycophant who is ready to play to all outside influences and play to the interests of his crony capitalist friends. What else will a chaiwallah do who gets tipped highly by his wealthy capitalist friends. In all matters of democracy and policies the common man though in majority has no say because he has no purchasing power/money to make the government work in his favor.

    A very well written article and I am sure we can all go Nanga to save even more money for the nation.