finger prints of the dead

I could not resist writing about an experience I had today when I took myself off to the District Courts to register my will.

After being mobbed by all the notary and lawyers who sit at little tables with antediluvian typewriters in a neat row, like a bunch of crows waiting for the prey, we selected one who looked kind, though I do not know whether that was true.

I had printed my will and I think the man felt a little let down as he tried to show me the formats he had, all written in the language of the raj.

Then we proceeded to the signatures and I fell of my chair when he brought out a used ink pad and asked me to put the prints of my thumb then my four fingers under my name.

Thinking I had heard wrong, I told him that actually the document would only be read after my death and that by then my ashes would have been blown in the wind so how would they check my prints in case of doubt. He looked at me with extreme seriousness and told me that it was required. I dutifully did what told.

Later I realised that probably this was probably a legacy of the raj, where buried bodies could be exhumed. And no one had bothered to amend the rule, just as the other law that allows the state into bedrooms of consenting adults in the name of morality and that is being challenged.

I wonder why we are still ruled by a penal code that is over a 100 year old and was made by erstwhile rules. Maybe it is time to think about it as the only way a person of Hindu faith can have finger prints on record is to become a criminal.

Not my cup of tea!

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