KOCHI: The fight against Aadhaar appears to be individualistic and simplistic to many. The Attorney General of India in his arguments in the Supreme Court called the challenges ‘myopic.’ “If 99 pc persons have taken it, what’s your problem?” This seems to be the approach of the Central Government. Identity frozen into codes, numbers, biometrics and cards encrypted with all of them.
The identity of an Indian is not a fingerprint or an iris scan, it’s the depth and vastness of the free Indian thought which has transcended landscapes and redefined horizons of knowledge. One can make many identification documents for administrative purposes. But, forcing a person to forgo his biometrics and forcing these identity documents on a population symptomises a different societal disease. The disease of autocracy, fascism, and the death of democracy.
Napoleon Bonaparte used identity cards for identifying workers to ensure they don’t have social mobility and they do not go from one establishment to the other in search of better wages. Nazi Germany used identity documents to trace Jews and send them to concentration camps. The symptoms can’t be clearer.
What’s more than what meets the eye: Questions and answers. Aadhaar mandates surrendering of biometric information like fingerprints and iris scan. This information is kept in a database and there’s all likelihood that this data can be commercially exploited. The question asked by the government is ‘why are you concerned now itself?, come back to us when the data is misused.’ The answer to this is simple. Right to privacy is not infringed upon when my data is misused. it’s infringed upon when my data is taken, when I am subjected to unnecessary surveillance.
Initially, Aadhaar was a scheme, then an Act. Today, it’s considered to be a magical solution for all maladies. If one does not want to dispense with his/her biometric information which is a part of his body and his alone, who’s the state to ask me to give it to a private body? The entire population’s fingerprints are stored by a private entity. Anyone can be surveilled using this biometric data. Are we living in a giant concentration camp?