Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hi, I'm Kasab.

One India. Many colours. All blending into one. Right. Today's Republic Day and seems apt for this blogpost. I've just moved to a new city in a different state and I ride a bike of that state registration. As is procedure, I should either pay my road tax or change my bike registration. Here are things I realised about the first few statements of this post while going about it.

I realised that I (and other poor hapless people in my position) are potential Kasabs. We could potentially engineer a bomb blast, unlike most other locals. It is perfectly necessary for us prove that each of us are our father's children, many times over so that in an event that we do actually engineer that blast we may be caught at the addresses in the address proofs we furnish. And if we have none to furnish, we can get those 'done' by just about any legal professional. My other problem is that I don't actually have any permanent address proof because I never had a 'permanent address'. The addresses on various other documents were old addresses. After getting ourselves an identity, we become worth a bunch of documents that stand taller than our own heights.

The reason I had to get my bike registration done is this small little thing called road tax. Assumably, they build the roads are built and maintained with that money. So I have no right to be driving around roads we don't pay for, unless of course you're passing through only for a small while and you have got your No Objection Certificate which allows you do that for the period it stipulates.

You'd only have to see the expression on the face of a cop once he sees a non-state registration bike and stops it to know what I'm saying now. The eager look through his Ray Ban sunglasses is inexplicable, probably because of the opportunity to buy a Ray Ban for his wife I suppose. We are officially strangers in a strange land where it was clearly suspicious to be so. We were more likely to do something unlawful and have to be pre-checked with bias for any possible future action of ours unlike all other people. That seemed to justify the tone of the actions, if not the actions themselves.

While my respect is for the law, the questions are begged to be asked. Why is it that I am approached like a criminal? When does the innocent till proven guilty equation change for special people? If I am an Indian belonging to India and its increasing number of states, why is it a crime to take my Indian bike on Indian roads and celebrate the Indian life whether I'm from your state or mine? Why do I have to prove among most important things that I am my father's son and that I actually exist? Thank God that I don't have to prove that my father is the son of his dad.

While you may beg to defend the "law", I must question where it comes from and what it achieves. It's one thing to furnish what you have. You cannot not stay at the house you are staying at. Or does the Govt. endorse the growing real estate boom so that you have one? You can only be the son of your father and of no one else. Just because a document is 'official', it needn't be right. What you furnish should be what you have and not what you can create - the point being it should reflect information that is present, true and correct. You don't need to create it.

The bottomline: Why is it that one is assumed to be a criminal? Where does that assumption end? How unsingleminded that does make my diverse, colourful and uniquely different nation now?

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