‘We Are Being Converted Into Numbers’: Ravish Kumar on Aadhaar

Being born into a country is not adequate certification to prove that you are indeed it’s citizen, said Kumar.

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Opinion
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<p>Ravish Kumar speaks on ‘Kalyug’ at the Times Lit Fest in Mumbai.</p>
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“We are all being converted into numbers, at a time where human values are at its lowest,” television anchor Ravish Kumar said at the Times Lit Fest in Mumbai.

Kumar was delivering a talk on ‘kalyug’, which refers to the current state of political crisis that Indians have found themselves in. The senior journalist had strong views regarding the existence of a ‘democtatorship’ in terms of governance, and its quest to invade and control a citizen’s thoughts and privacy.

Forced Identification

Being born into a country is not an adequate amount of certification to prove that you are indeed it’s citizen, said Kumar.

You need to have a PAN number, a GST number, Aadhaar number, voter number, and obviously, mobile number. 

Ravish Kumar, senior journalist

taking a jibe at the state’s forces, Kumar also spoke about how despite CCTV cameras being installed across the country to help “protect” its people, footage from the same has shown nonchalant robbers dislodging ATMs in full awareness and view of the cameras recording them.

Referring to the recent controversy over the mandatory linking of a person’s Aadhaar with their bank accounts and mobiles, Kumar said, “We are all being converted into numbers.”

These numbers, the ones that are enforced upon you by the government and that you don’t question, is not only destroying your diversity, it is turning you into one number, which equals blindly following one minister’s ideology. 

Ravish Kumar

Speaking about the government’s insistence of linking a person’s Aadhaar to their bank account, Kumar said it was openly embarking on policies to monitor the lives of its citizens.

Living Under a ‘Democtatorship’

Kumar said that at the present time, Indians are living under a “democtatorship,” where the leader may have been elected democratically by the people but definitely acts like a dictator once he takes ownership of the hot seat.

When history was being made, we didn’t have any kings. We were free, but we started electing people to power. We upgraded them to zamindars, and later kings. Then we chose a democrat. When the democrat was inefficient, we chose a dictator. And then we chose a ‘democtator’, a dictator who has been ‘elected’ democratically by the people – or so it appears. 

Ravish Kumar 

Living under a “democtatorship” is confusing, considering that you’re supposed to have all the elements of a democracy, such as basic human rights, awarded by the Constitution, but then are dismissed or not considered – an eerie reflection of the factors making up a dictatorship.

He added that the said leaders in power have proudly acclaimed that they hail from “poor” backgrounds and thus understand the pain of the majority of the population, which still lives under the poverty line. However, he added sardonically, these are the leaders who arrive in helicopters, have LED screens set up, and invite the entire media for a live telecast of his statement, where he says “I am poor.”

Hindustan ki rajniti mein, puri duniye mein, isse mehenga poverty certificate aapko kahin nahi milega (Nowhere else in the world do you find as expensive a poverty certificate as you do in India).

Ravish Kumar

Ironically, he said, the real people falling below the poverty line have to go through a hundred difficult steps to procure and provide certificates so they can receive the benefits offered by the government to those falling under this bracket.

Trust the Masses

While the masses are being subjugated in various ways under this ‘democtatorship,’ they still have a lot of power to make a difference, said Kumar.

The public knows that this ‘kalyug’ is their ‘yug’. It’s a democratic period, otherwise it would have been subordinated by a person or dynasty still. 

Ravish Kumar

Asking them to always speak up for their rights, to question whichever party or government is reigning, and to never be reduced to numbers, Kumar said that it is the masses who have always raised a finger at the wrong and have managed to deliver some kind of justice.

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