Thursday, 21 November 2013
Believe it or not…
There are so many whacky stories I’ve accumulated during my many years living in India, but I’m reserving those for a full book. However, the other day I found an article in the ‘Times of India’ that had me almost rolling on the floor:
Bring midwife as birth proof, 64-year-old told
GURGAON: Madan Lal Jain has a task he is unlikely to ever fulfil: track down the midwife who assisted in his birth 64 years ago.
Jain, a businessman in Gurgaon, needed a birth certificate, so he went to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon and asked for one. And that was when he was told to get an affidavit signed by the midwife and two neighbours from 1949, the year he was born. The midwife was in her 40s when Jain was born, which would make at least 104 years old now.
Civic officials said the corporation has birth records only from 1963. Jain has moved the district court seeking changes in the law.
In Delhi, the administration initiates a police verification in such cases and a birth certificate is issued on the basis of that. But Jain said he was given no such option.
On the court's verdict now rests the fate of other Gurgaon residents who don't have a birth certificate and were born before 1963. The date of hearing is December 6.
"When I went to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon office for my birth certificate, I was told records were preserved only from 1963. The officials said I would have to get a hospital record or a signed affidavit from the midwife apart from the signatures of two people who were neighbours in 1949," said Jain, who was born at his home in Gopal Nagar in old Gurgaon.
Jain does have a documented date of birth — his Punjab University marksheet — but says the officials told him it wasn't a valid paper to obtain a birth certificate.
"They also dissuaded me from filing an application with the higher authorities, saying it would be turned down too. It was then that I approached the local court to urge them to change these archaic laws and provide relief to citizens like me. I may not eventually require a birth certificate but I want these rules amended," he said.
MCG officials said they are only following rules. "For those who want to get a birth certificate prior to 1963, they need to submit the necessary documents, including signed certificates from two neighbours and the midwife, or some hospital record. There is nothing much we can do about existing rules," an MCG official said.
There was however one consolation…it’s all the fault of the British it seems, hehehe, according to one comment posted after the article (which I actually agree with, so thanks for that):
"Our rules were originally framed by the British. After independence, the same continued. Rules and Common Sense have very little to do with each other. Our (Indians') habit of telling lies even for small things made the British wary of Indians. They made stricter and stricter rules as time went by. It was also handy for them as they could make exceptions in cases to favour some individuals who were in their ontrol. Those they could not control were subjected to the strictest of rules. The same system suited the new rulers of independent India. With an added reason. Corruption. Those who paid bribes could also expect exemptions. Both us and the rulers are responsible for the situation as it exists." - Ramesh