Sunday, October 18, 2009

Can identity be taken for granted?

Within the country, I may be a citizen but I still need a passport, driving license, property ownership paper, voter’s id card, and not to forget the good old ration card, which meant to be a food security mechanism for the poor but ended up being an id card for the most;  less by the lack of any other mechanism, more by the insistence of babus in the government offices and by virtue of the procedures drafted by the babus of the babus. And if you are a woman, not to leave out, the legal or illegal requirements or demands of producing the father’s or the husband's name; else be prepared that you may not get any of the above identity documents. Did somebody mention ‘constitutional equality’? Well, it has been said out and loud innumerable times that we have a constitution in crisis from the time it was accepted. Now we have a historically alarming pattern by the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha members of operating outside the constitution, of blocking the bills and laws that yield to the constitutional principles and spirit, and of no meaningful oversight by the Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishad. So dear women, let’s persevere on! But to be back to the issue of identity in general, outside the country, it is the passport and resident permits, work permits, etc that rule!  But is that all to identity?

Though you or I may not ask ourselves about our own identify, at least not often, and we may think that I know who I am, the problem of identity surfaces when it is undermined, ignored or not seen as important by the others. Below the surface, identity is connected to a way of life one has grown up in and to all the factors that the particular way of life, visibly or invisibly, contains. So when any of these are touched or ignored in ways that we do not like, the complexity of identity surfaces. In such a situation, I, for example, feel that my identity is being denied or seen in a rather basic manner without recognition and respect for its context. It makes me feel as not being seen who I am because I feel that some vital aspects of my existence that give meaning to me as a person are being looked down upon or ignored or missed. The visible and invisible factors are important because they give meaning to the body that is identified as me and are a foundation upon which my life is built and views personal or political, local or world, are formed.

Am I saying this to make a point … May be …or just mumbling.

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