Paytm began its journey in 2010 as a cellular app-based utility payments facilitator. It was founded by One97 Communications founder-promoter Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Its main break came in 2016 when the BJP government in the stroke of mid-night announced demonetization on November 8, banning with instant effect currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denominations. Overnight, the company turned into a household name while demonetization reportedly helped it earn revenues of more than Rs. 813 crore that fiscal ending March 2017, since it saw a steep surge in its pocket user foundation from 150 countless 200 million, whereas common citizens found their hard-earned cash to have become unworthy and were forced to stand in queues for hours before banks to deposit old money notes. Over 150 ordinary citizens lost their lives through those 50 times as the government made it essential for every single trade, even while purchasing groceries, to be produced through electronic modes of payment. Millions of citizens stood aghast when they found at a video Vijay Sharma, seemingly drunk high on this overnight phenomenal victory, making mockery of the plight, calling them names, while stating in a celebratory function,"We are killers, we're killers... jo humare saath nahi hain wo royenge... ek saal mein wo kiya jo unhone dus saal mein nahi kiya... kaleza diya, khoon diya, jaan dee, sab kuch laga diya [swear word] (We are killers, we're killers... those who are not with us will cry... we attained in a single year what they couldn't in ten years... you [the taxpayers ] paid the cost with your blood and life and lost every single cent [swear word])." With more than 7 million registered retailers and over 200 million pocket users across the country, a number that's increasing with the ticking of the clock, Paytm is now a much-diversified e-commerce business, becoming crucial for Indian shoppers, secondly only to Flipkart in the evaluation.
Knowing full well that in this technology-driven era, when there are dozens and dozens of programs out there for each and every activity a man can imagine, Sharma chose to test it out if Paytm too could promote his agenda on their apps. Surprisingly, he was not disappointed when he met Vice President Sudhanshu Gupta and Sr.. Vice President Ajay Shekhar Sharma. These interviews proved to be quite revealing and shocking, as the best honchos not boast of their intimate affiliation with the RSS but can also be candid enough to admit to having shared the data of millions of their app users with the central government.
It was Sudhanshu Gupta that Sharma first met to go over his agenda. No sooner the journalist has begun briefing about it, Sudhanshu is quick enough to show the association that his company has the government of the day. Showing a Paytm app, he says:"From the way main aapko ek cheej aur dikhata hoon in the event, you should obviously know our political affiliation... this is our Paytm program. Nowadays Mr. Modi is correct here. Unki book aayi hai abhi extra Assessment Warriors. We are... We are in fact promoting this publication... (Incidentally, allow me to reveal one more thing, in case you should clearly know our political affiliation... this is our Paytm App. Nowadays Mr. Modi is correct here. He's written a novel additional [sic] Exam Warriors. We are... we are actually promoting this novel...)." He proceeds to tell us they're also promoting the PM's publication in its e-format. Attempting to give him a shot of what he is looking for, the journalist seeks another meeting with Paytm vice president, however, Sudhanshu is curious to learn more of it. As he states:"So mere ko t exactly what I am going to need to do is that I really have to comprehend how do you want to disperse and what's your articles (So I have to... what I am going to need to do is I really have to comprehend how do you want to propagate and what's your content)."
Thus, to satisfy his curiosity, the journalist tells him all about his agenda and how he would like Paytm to perform out it. The moment he has finished, Sudhanshu begins to discuss an innovative notion:"While you speaking I'm getting some thoughts of this... toh hum kya karte hain na hum Paytm app pe quiz chalate hain... hum aapki Bhagwad Gita ke around chala denge (While you talking I'm getting some thoughts of this... so what we do is we run a quiz on Paytm program... we will run a quiz around Bhagwad Gita onto it)." Nothing could be better than that, the journalist tells himfor promoting our schedule of Hindutva. "Bilkul. Wo hee quiz chala dete hain log matlab aap vishwas nahi karoge kuch toh daily kum se kum pachees--liye hazaar log aakar ye quiz khelte hain... ye chala dete hain hum aapke liye (Yes, sure. We will conduct that quiz. You won't believe at 25--30000 people play that quiz daily on our program... we will run that quiz for you)," informs Sudhanshu.
This brief meeting led to another meeting a while later in Delhi resort. Accompanying Sudhanshu for this meeting was none other than Paytm Sr.. Following pleasantries are over, and when Vijay Shekhar asks what he can do for their client, the journalist reiterates what he's already told his colleague. His schedule is marketing of Hindutva through Shrimad Bhagwad Gita Prachar Samiti. We would not like to attract the Sangathan from the film as sponsor of the effort. Main toh Sangh se bahut juda hua hoon (You will not attract the Sangathan. I am closely associated with the Sangh)," Ajay Shekhar shoots back, revealing his association with the RSS. He then goes on to dropping names of the likes of Arun Kumar, Krishna Gopal, S.K. Mishra and even Shiv Raj Chauhan. He interacts with all these big leaders of the Sangh, he tells us, mostly for business purposes. Matlab mere kabhi discussion mein ye baat aayi nahi nikalkar jo baat aap bol rahe ho matlab mere har tareh ke discussion hote hain (Among the Sangh leaders at the centre, I've fulfilled Arun Kumarji and Prafull Kelkarji who's editor. I mean what you're telling us never churns up in our talks ever. I mean I have talks with these every kind)," he raises a relevant question. However, the journalist knows how to deflect such doubts. He's smart enough to inform them with all innocence that he is working under a"gupt vyavastha", that is, a secret arrangement, then Sangh is known for working as clandestinely as any secretive organization throughout the world does. However he is not able to think his potential customer that even the big leaders of the Sangh were not privy to this important undertaking. Eventually, as a master stroke, the journalist tells Ajay Shekhar that even the RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat had seen his ashram and that he knows him . If Ajay Shekhar doesn't believe him he can always check on the net as everything is accessible there. This marginally assuages the curiosity of Ajay Shekhar, who while still wondering why such important thing did prop during all those discussions says:"Itna bada kaam kar rahe hain aur hum toh kya batayein hum kya- kya kaam kar rahe hote hain kuch hum bhi nahi bata sakte aapko matlab kuch aise kaam humse karwaye Sangh ne main aapko bata nahi sakta theek hai (Today, what can you say when they're doing such major job. I also can't share with you all of those sorts of jobs we also have done for them. I mean that the Sangh has made us do such tasks for them that I cannot tell you whatsoever, okay)." But the ultimate revelation is yet to come. Hold your breath!
Telling us the way the Panchjanya Editor Kelkar is a fantastic friend, he reveals:"Arre meri dosti toh unse dosti hai matlab aap agar Panchjanya ko uthayenge na toh usmein Paytm ke advertisement dikhenge aapkp aap dekhna kabhi jaake aapko dikh jayega... wo unke kehne se kare hain humne (Oh, we're really very great buddies. I suggest if you pick up any matter of Panchjanya, you will find Paytm advertisements there through and through... we have done all those things upon his word)." But he insists he will speak to his friends in RSS and particularly Kelkar before undertaking the assignment. Why the RSS should approach them adopting such a circuitous path, he wonders , when they might have it done by immediately communicating with him. I am unable to know why they're not asking us directly to do so )." Losing his patience within his insistence on"no assurance", the journalist cuts him short him by telling him to upload the movies of his Guruji in their program. "Nahi nahi wo sab hum kar denge agar RSS kahega kyonki RSS toh humare bloodstream mein hai (No, no. We will do all that provided the RSS asks us to perform. RSS is in our bloodstream )," guarantees Ajay Shekhar at long last but with a rider. He goes on to explain why:"Main poochhoonga karana hai toh fir unko bata kar karenge hum bhi to apne number banayein seedhi see baat hai jab itna kar chuke hain toh karna kya hai (I will do it after educating them. We all also would love to create our numbers together. It is as straightforward as that. When we have done all those things for them, then why not this)." What Ajay Sharma, who states he is near RSS from childhood, is telling us how makes business sense.
You scratch our back, as they say, I will scratch yours!
In a hurry to prove how close they are both to the government and into the RSS, Ajay Shekhar creates the greatest disclosure:"Jab JK mein band huye the t pathar... toh humari personally PMO se telephone aya tha kaha gaya tha ki statistics de do ho sakta hai ki Paytm consumer hon (If the stone-pelting ceased there in J&K, I personally got a telephone call from the PMO. They advised us to give them information stating maybe some of the stone-pelters are Paytm users. Do you understand)?"
Coming back into dropping names of the top BJP and RSS leadership, Ajay Shekhar makes the following revelation. Ye Shivrajji hain inse toh matlab ye jaante hain Ajay Shekhar (You see, there's Kailashji who is a very good friend. I mean he's done us a lot of favours. I've an IPS buddy in Bengal. He is also doing a lot of work for them at the moment. Then there is Shivraj ji, together with him... you know, these leaders understand Ajay Shekhar personally)."
Seeing his insistence on undertaking the schedule only when the RSS folks ask him to accomplish this, the journalist finally tells him that Mohan Bhagwat seeing his Guruji in his ashram is not something that you may brush aside as a non-significant occasion. But when I'm doing all sorts of items for Mohan Bhagwatji and when Mohan Bhagwatji asks me you're doing so [your campaign], then I will tell him that I am doing this to you)."
Such revelations of their close affiliation with the best RSS brass along with the BJP governments at the center and at other states make one wonder if Paytm's meteoric rise has something related to the Saffron brigade's ascension to power at the middle and its choice to go for demonetization. Founded inside a year of the BJP forming government in the Centre, the company entered into an arrangement with the Indian Railways in April 2015 which makes Paytm wallet acceptable for ticketing-related transactions, and in December the exact same year, IRTC declared its catering services could be availed of using Paytm program. This was the year when Paytm and its holding company saw an uplift in its own fortunes with investors such as Jack Ma of the Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba investing in Vijay Shekhar Sharma's venture. After Ma visited India in March that year, he also met Prime Minister Modi. Four months down the line, the BJP government began its push for digital India. The drive came to a push when the government went whole lock, stock and barrel for demonetization in November a year later. However, two weeks before the much-touted"surgical strike" started, Paytm had become ubiquitous in its presence across, inhabiting complete pages in newspapers and prime time tv free business time, in what was no less a blitzkrieg. The organization had the gumption to even depict Modi as its brand ambassador in one of its own advertisements to the utter shock of the country, which was afterward on handily withdrawn. Regardless of should, Vijay Shekhar in one of its ads applauded Modi for his daring decision. However, since the company made its fortune out of demonetization which pushed the citizenry to untold miseries, its advertisements became rare and rarer with the passage of time.
The confessions of the top honchos of Paytm make us wonder if one should read between the lines!