The list of things that the Aadhaar 12-digit unique identity number is mandatory for is only growing longer even as privacy concerns arising from the biometric-based project are still being debated and there is little clarity about how safe our data will be. With information around the project becoming increasingly murky, the central government figured it would take matters into its own hands and explain everything to the public clearly. So, they decided to release a handout with all the details. We got this exclusive first look at the handout under the condition that no changes would be made to it before or after it’s published.
Dear people of India,
Greetings from your government!
As we celebrate seven decades of freedom from the tyranny of the British Raj, we thought we’d make your day by taking some time out from our busy schedules to explain some things to you. We would have been happier if we didn’t have to do this all the time. However, if talking to you dunderheads is going to get us some peace and quiet around here, then that’s what we’re going to have to do.
Surprised by our tone, are you? Well, this is how we always write our missives. It’s just that usually we have some low-life bureaucrat convert it into polite language so that it makes it easier for you to digest. However, we don’t have any patience left so we’re going to break the fourth wall and shower you clueless morons with some hard truths.
You see, you idiots have been watching too many American political shows and movies which have filled your head with stupid ideas. You’ve begun to forget your place in life and have deluded yourselves into believing that the government’s function is to serve the public and that in a liberal democracy, the Constitution remains supreme. You’ve even convinced yourselves that you’re entitled to privacy and are allowed to maintain secrets that the government doesn’t know about.
Well, we’re here to give you dum-dums a reality check. That’s not how the real world works, sunshine. Remember which country you live in. Don’t forget that you’re Indian. In our wonderful land, your official designation of “citizen” exists only on your passport and in your civics textbooks. For all practical purposes, you’re a subject. The government doesn’t exist for to serve you; you exist to serve the government.
Smells like teen spirit
This is why we argued in front of the Supreme Court that there is no right to absolute privacy in the Republic of India. In fact, you don’t even have exclusive ownership over your own bodies. The government shares its custody with you as well as the rest of society. If we give you complete rights over yourself, god knows what kind of anti-moral things you might indulge in.
Why are you so insistent about privacy, anyway? What is your real agenda? Why do you want to hide something from us? You can share all your private information to Google and Facebook, but you don’t trust your own government? If that isn’t an indication of anti-national bias, then we don’t know what is.
That is why it is imperative for us to know everything about you. Like where you live. How you live. Who do you live with. We want to know how much money you earn and the things you do with that money. We want to know what you bought on last Saturday evening and why did you buy it. We want to know whether your condoms are ribbed or if your favourite lube smells of strawberry.
Let’s get one thing clear. We decide what you can eat, where you can eat it, how much you have to pay for it, and the size of the portion you get served. We decide which movie or TV show is good for you and which will lead to a national moral decline. We tell you what books you can read and which books are a disturbance to peaceful order. We decide who you can love and who you can marry.
Why? Because sc**w you, that’s why.
So, when we say that you need to give your Aadhar number to get a death certificate, you don’t ask us why, you just nod your head and do as we say. Why is this even controversial? Here’s the thing: you can’t simply walk out of this great national experiment as per your whims and fancies. Being dead is not an acceptable excuse! It’s Hotel California rules, baby. You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave.
You think we’ll make an exception for someone just because they’re dead? You think that is going to melt whatever it is we have where our hearts are supposed to be? We didn’t even deter from making Aadhar mandatory for mid-day meals in government schools. For most students, this was probably the only assured meal they got in a day and yet if they don’t have an Aadhar ID, they don’t exist for us.
We even made Aadhar compulsory for receiving cash assistance from the government for the treatment of tuberculosis. That’s right! We’d rather have a deadly, infectious disease go untreated than have someone avoid being part of the UIDAI network. That’s the extent to which we’re willing to go. You think your measly privacy concerns are going to sway us, you abject simpletons?
How do you like me now?
As for your charge of the data being leaked, we’ll be gracious and admit that there were a couple of hundred government websites that might have inadvertently leaked all the information of a few hundred million citizens, but that’s about it. What’s a leak of 130 million in a country of a billion people? Not even a drop in the ocean! Such things happen! Look at the bigger picture, you pedants.
Admittedly, it was our bad. We didn’t realise that a top notch, secret password like “password” could be cracked. But now we’ve taken strict measure to fix the problem. All your data is secure. In fact, we’ve even changed the password to “p@$$w0rd!” so that it becomes impossible to crack.
Another frequent complaint is that the individual assigned an Aadhar ID does not have any control over it. Even if it is misused, the person it belongs to will never be able to know. And that if someone’s Aadhar number gets deactivated, they’d lose access to all the services it is mandatory for.
Oh god, you numbskulls, that’s a feature not a bug. We didn’t give you any right over your data because we didn’t think you’d need it. And if somehow your ID gets deactivated, we will turn it on back for you. As long as you can pay us a little off-the-books “convenience fee.” Or you can repay us with your abject loyalty and silence. Whatever we require from you at that particular moment in time.
Boy, if you think the UIDAI project is intrusive, we don’t even want to know how you will react to the other things we have lined up.
But that’s a story for another day!
Happy Independence Day, fellow citizens of the Republic! Enjoy your freedom!
...At least while you still have it.