The ides of January

Come January 15th we run the risk of getting stopped by the police and asked for an identity proof or give the reason for our staying in Delhi. This is what the administrative head of the city decreed some time back. Nothing wrong as this is something that happens in many cities the world over. But oh darling yeh hai India and things are quite different here.

As soon as the news was made public the political head of the city candidly stated on national TV: I got to know about this from the newspapers making one wonder whether we are in some kind of wonderland!

In spite of being independent for over six decades, we as a nation have not been able to issue a unique ID card to all our citizens. A photo identity card is what will now be mandatory: passport, driving licence, ration card, voter ID card were some of the suggestions made. This may be feasible for some but for many who live in this city it is a a quasi impossibility. Securing a civic identity proof is a catch 22 situation as we learnt when we tried to get Manu one. Yet Manu is no migrant: he was born in this city over 30 years ago! In spite of all our efforts we failed!

I shudder to think at what might happen come the ides of January; simple people who try to eek a living in this city will be unnecessarily harassed and will have to once more pay their way out as the police carry their supposed random checks!

Yes we need ID cards for all citizens of the country and this is something the government should ensure in a doable manner keeping in mind the existing reality. Unfortunately what happens is that to meet political ends short cuts are often adopted as one often sees during elections. I must confess that I have always voted though I do not have an election card as make shift solutions were always at hand.

Guess time has come again to look for such solutions! A sad reflection of the reality we live in!