AADHAAR – The Oneness Mantra
AADHAAR – The Oneness Mantra5 mins 41 5 mins 41
The 65-plus Vibheeshanarao was living in the US with his family for the past 40 years, running a departmental store. Calamity struck the family suddenly – his only son and the daughter-in-law died in a road accident, leaving their 7-year-old son behind. Vibheeshanarao and his wife Srilakshmi were so distraught that they decided to return to India, lest the memories of their beloved haunted them if continued there.
As Vibheeshanarao left India when he was very young, he lost contact with his relatives and friends there. However, he had a few Facebook friends from India. He sought the help of one of them, Jagannadham, to rehabilitate himself in Hyderabad. The night before leaving for India, Vibheeshanarao had a long chat with Jagannadham over the phone…
Jagannadham received Vibheeshanarao and his family at the Shamshabad Airport in Hyderabad and drove them straight to his home. A retired Bank officer, Jagannadham was of Vibheeshanarao’s age.
Vibheeshanarao wanted to buy a house, and he could zero in on an independent one. The price was negotiated and the paperwork done swiftly. However, a problem arose at the Sub-Registrar’s Office. Vibheeshanarao was asked to attach a copy of his Aadhaar Card to the document. He had explained to the officials that he had just returned to the country and that he was not having Aadhaar yet. He requested them to make an exception in his case, but the officials regretted their inability to do so. The purchase got aborted thus.
Vibheeshanarao had to opt for rental accommodation. He could find one through a broker. The monthly rental was Rs.40,000 with an advance payment of Rs.2,00,000. As he liked the flat, Vibheeshanarao agreed to the terms. Even as the rental agreement was being executed, the house-owner insisted on Aadhaar copy!
Explaining his current status, Vibheeshanarao exclaimed, “Insisting on Aadhaar for Govt. transactions is understandable but not for private purposes!”
“You cannot employ even the domestic servant these days without Aadhaar proof,” replied the house-owner.
As the house-owner did not relent, Vibheeshanarao went to the Police Station to complain. But the police refused to entertain him without Aadhaar proof!
As Vibheeshanarao let out his anguish, Jagannadham smiled and said, “The idea is to give a national identity to each and every citizen of the country”. He was having a guest house which was presently vacant and he offered the same to Vibheeshanarao as temporary accommodation. The latter gratefully moved into it. When he tried to get a gas connection, the same problem cropped up. So, Jagannadham arranged one.
Vibheeshanarao wanted to open a Bank Account in order to transfer his funds from the US. He went to a bank. The Manager insisted on Aadhaar proof, despite explaining his position.
Now it was time for the boy to be admitted to a school, and Vibheeshanarao approached a public school. After a prolonged interview (not of the child, but of the grandfather), the Principal agreed to admit the boy. The Aadhaar identity arose once again while filling up the Form. Even the offer of a fat donation did not help…Vibheeshanarao had a similar experience while trying to get a telephone connection and buying a mobile phone.
Once Vibheeshanarao went to an I-Max theatre with his family to watch a movie. He was told that tickets would not be issued without the Aadhaar proof! The family had to return disappointed. Srilakshmi suggested having dinner in a hotel. When they reached a hotel, the board outside was perplexing. It read – ‘Admission with Aadhaar only!’
The Aadhaar had become an essential part of the lives of the citizens in India, realized Vibheeshanarao - the hard way! He wasted no time and went to an Aadhaar-Enrolment Centre with family. There were long queues. Waiting patiently the whole day, he could complete the enrolment. But, the shock came when he was told that it would take at least six months before they received their cards due to the large number of cases to be processed!
The family was now fed up, and Srilakshmi suggested going back to America. So, they went to the airlines' office to buy tickets. And lo and behold! Airlines would not issue tickets without the Aadhaar proof! ...
Vibheeshanarao woke up with a jolt. His wife, who was sleeping on the bed next to him with the kid, was sobbing. He woke her up. She opened her eyes and surveyed the room for a few seconds. She was in her bedroom in Los Angeles!
Astonished, she asked, “Have we not gone to India, yet?!”
“No, we are leaving tonight,” replied Vibheeshanarao. “What’s the matter? Why are you crying?”
She had a nightmare, Srilakshmi realized. She narrated it, thus – ‘the moment they landed in India, they faced several hurdles due to non-possession of Aadhaar Identity!’
Vibheeshanarao laughed at her as the fear was still written large in her face. The previous night he told her about the aadhaar hawa that was blowing in India presently, as informed by his friend. She must have been brooding over it while going to bed. And it had triggered the nightmare with her imagination running riot, he surmised. He should dispel her fears, he thought.
“See, dear! Your fears are misplaced and misconceived. India has introduced a common, unique identity to its citizens. As you know, here, in the States, we have multiple identities, such as H1B entities, Green Card holders, etc. Even though we got a permanent residence here, still the tag of aliens haunts us. The unique identity not only helps the nation in various ways but also makes the citizens united and binding. Enrolment is not a problem and my friend has promised to get us the Aadhaar Cards in a month” he explained to her, even as she heard him in awe.
“One nation, one identity and one tax – is the motto!” Vibheeshanarao said again. “Come on, Baby! Get up quick. We have last-minute packing to do,” holding her hand he pulled her up – inducing smiles on her face and giggles from the kid who had just woken up.