Identity crisis! When Nathu turned Kaku

brajesh

Brajesh Kumar | January 16, 2013


Kaku Ram (in white shirt, centre) and his brothers talk with the SDM during a special camp to have his name changed in the voter`s I-card.
Brajesh Kumar

Kaku Ram, a provision store owner from Chandela village in Abu Road block, had been having sleepless nights ever since he received his voter’s identity card. Reason: the election commission called him “Nathu Ram”, while all his other certificates acknowledge him as who he actually is: Kaku Ram.

“I don’t know how my name got changed in the voter’s identity card,” he said. As a result, whenever he had to produce two identity proofs, he was in a soup: “It’s difficult to prove who I am.”

His efforts to get the name corrected of the voter’s card had proved futile for a long time. “Every time I went to the block office I was asked for a bribe. Someone told me it will be done through the court, where a lawyer will charge Rs 10,000,” he said.

Then finally one day he heard of a drive being launched by the Rajasthan government to address grievances of people at their doorsteps. As part of this drive, officially christened ‘prashasan gaon ke sangh’ (literally administration with the village), all government departments are scheduled to camp at every village panchayat for a day and finish all pending works of the village residents. The camp is headed by the SDM.

On December 13, the day the camp was held in Kaku’s panchayat, he met the SDM and told him the story of his dual identity, and the inconveniences it had caused him.     

The SDM ordered him to get his brothers, or relatives, to the camp and told him that if they attested to what he was saying his name would be changed.
Soon, Kaku’s brothers arrived and on their statement given on an affidavit, Kaku reclaimed his original name. “If not for this camp I would have had to shell out a lot of money in hiring a lawyer for the affidavit. Chasing other government officials would have been another monumental task. But since every government department is present here, my job has been done in a jiffy,” said Kaku-turned-Nathu-turned-Kaku again.

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