Skip to navigationSkip to content
India-demonetisation-money-banks-ATM
Reuters/Pawan Kumar
Never ending.
YOUR TURN NOW

In photos: Please wait India, you are in queue!

By Maria Thomas

It’s been nine days since prime minister Narendra Modi announced his polarising decision to do away with India’s old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes and most Indians have spent these days waiting in line.

Banks and ATMs were closed to the public for two days after Modi’s announcement on the night of Nov. 08. But as soon as they re-opened, millions of Indians queued up to exchange their now-worthless notes for the new Rs500 and Rs2,000 ones. However, the limited cash supply available—after all, the demonetised notes constituted 86% of India’s currency by value—meant that long delays were inevitable.

So people of all ages have spent hours in lines, without any guarantee that their bank or ATM wouldn’t run dry by the time they got to the tellers or teller machines. The stress and exhaustion of spending so much time standing has already claimed the lives of 47 people.

From New Delhi to Hyderabad, Ahmedabad to Kolkata, here are some photos of what the country had to bear:

Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
Locals outside a bank in Mumbai.
AP Photo/Ajit Solanki
People waiting on a bridge across River Sabarmati in Ahmedabad, to withdraw and exchange currency.
Reuters/Himanshu Sharma
Women check their documents as they queue outside a bank in Gagwana village in Rajasthan.
AP Photo/Ajit Solanki
ATM machines in Ahmedabad.
EPA/Sanjeev Gupta
A policeman warns people outside an ATM in Bhopal.
EPA/Rajat Gupta
A distraught man outside the Reserve Bank of India, New Delhi.
AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A
A disabled person outside an ATM in Hyderabad, Telangana.
EPA/Piyal Adhikary
Even the elderly have had no choice but to wait for long hours, as seen in this photograph from Kolkata .
Reuters/Amit Dave
A 74-year-old man collapses after standing for long hours outside a bank on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
EPA/Jaopal Singh
The crowd inside a bank in Jammu.
EPA/Sanjeev Gupta
Under the hot Bhopal sun.
Reuters/Jitendra Prakash
Jostling outside a bank in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.