Sunday, 13 September 2009


1) Sir, I, an average Indian, is thrilled at the idea of being identified with a unique identity. But, I am a little disquieted what is going to be my unique identity since I never came to know or had the chance to ascertain, the uniqueness of me so far. I am a nondescript drop in the ocean of a billion and more humanity cramped into a comparatively smaller piece of land called India where uniqueness can be misapprehended for a byword to affluence. In the last few decades of the bygone century, this land has dramatically metamorphosed from the ‘the country of snake-charmers’- as the westerners looked at it- into a country of inglorious (not glorious) inequalities. Here Mr. Nilekani, I inadvertently remember your words to one Thomas L. Friedman - when you were at the helm of affairs at India’s number one IT company - that ‘The playing field is being levelled’. The remaining is history as the ‘New York Times’ guy, got stimulated by your words, went on to write a bestseller titled ‘The World Is Flat’.
Sir, if it is a flattened world it should be a flattened India too. In reality India remains, like its roads, bumpy, yet to be flattened. The lumps of riches and the pot-holes of abject poverty continue to co-exist nonchalantly, and I am concerned whether this is going to help or hinder you in allotting us our unique identities.
2) Sir, When it comes to unique identity, let alone identity, we- the average, pot-hole Indians, hardly have time to think about it. Though we were happy to get the documents of identity in the past like the ‘Ration Card’ and the ‘Voter Identity Card’, the happiness had nothing to do with our identities being determined. Without the Ration Card we can’t buy our monthly ration of rice, wheat, dhal, kerosene and other things our government mercifully gives us at subsidised prices, and thus our lives are entwined to this card which is more than an umbilical cord to us. In the once in five years democratic tamasha called elections, it is the Voter Identity Card that empowers us, not to elect our rulers but to make a healthy bargain as how much should a vote be paid.
Sir, we will be very grateful to you if the Unique Identity Card you are going to issue can fetch us more rations at far more lesser prices and give us more value in terms of selling our franchises.
3) Sir, Indians are proud to be Indians when their inconsistent Cricket Team wins a match ( they are yet to realise that there is a National Hockey Team and a Football Team and other sports teams), when Amithab Bachchan is felicitated in Siberia for his contribution to Indian cinema, when a NRI flies in NASA’s space shuttle. During these occasions they flaunt their nationality transcending region, religion, language and caste. But when a centuries old Masjid is brought down by vandals, when dalits are subjected to inhuman discriminations and killed at the slightest pretext everyday, a Government aided pogrom is carried out against Muslims in Gujarat, Kandhamal is burned by right wing fanatics; they comfortably look the other way. And when underprivileged children of India are forced to make a living out of garbage and begging, remarkable number of their fellow citizens are destined to live their whole lives in platforms, not less than 30% of the population forego two meals a day not out of austerity but poverty, they feign ignorance.
Sir, I wish my Unique Identity not to reveal my religion if I am a Muslim in Gujarat or a Christian in Kandhamal. I wish my Unique Identity not to reveal my caste if I am a dalit anywhere in this country. I wish you give me some clothing and shelter if I belonged to the homeless lot of Indians and I want to make it clear that the clothing and shelter are only for the purpose of carrying and keeping safe the Unique Identity Card you are going to issue.
Sir, I request you to kindly consider the above made postulations while issuing the Unique Identity Card and I am eagerly waiting for the day in which I am going to be Uniquely Identified.
Yours truly,
Pot-hole Indian.