By no means am I even close to figuring out all the details of how the Aadhaar came to be, why it was first launched – as an optional card no less – and why it is now being pushed by the government as mandatory, even though the Supreme Court has reserved judgement for now.
I cannot begin to understand the politics involved in any of the above decisions and I don’t know details of other dictatorial governments from other parts of the world who have used tools similar to Aadhaar to isolate and attack their country’s citizens.
Without making any claims about how well I know everything about Aadhaar, I will say only one thing with absolute certainty : this does not bode well, simply because any Government that forces the citizens of a country to link everything – every bank account, credit card, PAN card, ration card, passport, etc. – is creating a highly specific database that can be used to control the population. Giving over such control to any Government is NOT a good idea.
There have been numerous cases that have been document by journalists where a dog had an Aadhaar card + the deity known as Hanuman has an Aadhaar card + several people have already been locked out of their bank accounts and other daily services because the Aadhaar details do not match due to some glitches in the system. When Osama Bin Laden almost got an Aadhaar card. When Dhoni, the cricketer, had to deal with his Aadhaar details being publicly displayed on Twitter.
Can you imagine trusting the incompetent bureaucracy in India with your biometric data? I can’t.
That some people had multiple PAN cards was one of the excuses being peddled as to why the Aadhaar is necessary. Well. Some people have multiple Aadhaar cards.
Some have defended the Aadhaar saying that only people who have something to hide – don’t pay taxes etc. – are the ones who are opposing it. I have nothing to hide. I pay taxes. I have a PAN card. I even discuss how much money I make each year, publicly, on Twitter. But I am opposed to the Aadhar. “Patriots awake, before it’s too late, because I love my country but I fear my government.” The government must not have access to a tool that will allow them to determine my fate with the flick of a switch.
I do not want to be in a situation where a corrupt government official, asking for a bribe, tells me that if I don’t bribe them, they will lock me out of my Aadhaar, effectively severing me from everything I have either inherited or earned – including my identity. There are severe systemic flaws and India has always been infamous for the levels of corruption. Despite the government’s claims that Aadhaar is supposed to prevent corruption, the effect will be quite the contrary. The Government will have all the power it needs to bring citizens to their knees.
Recommended reading to educate yourself – you don’t have to rely on what I’m saying above :
Follow Meghnad on Twitter to stay in the loop on latest happenings on the Aadhaar front
State-wise Aadhaar saturation as seen on the UIDAI website – note the more than 100% population enrolment
The 2015 Supreme Court ruling – that is still applicable – which says that the Aadhaar is not mandatory – save the PDF to your phone and show it to WHOEVER is trying to force you to link your Aadhaar to their service. Even if you do have the Aadhaar card, it it NOT mandatory to link it to everything. If you do not have the Aadhaar yet, sit tight.
For those who want to know how the Aadhaar is different from USA’s Social Security Number (SSN), read this.
For details on how this can be compared to what Hitler did : By pretending the Aadhaar regulation is a money bill, the Modi government has used Nazi tactics to avoid parliamentary debate.
Please leave comments with links to other articles or pieces that you have found useful and have helped you make up your mind or worried you. I will add to the above list and update this piece. If you know of another resource that has followed the Aadhaar development neutrally from day one, please share, will add here.