On hearing the door bell ringing, Mr. Krishna Murthy got up from his reclining chair and walked to the front door with difficulty. He was experiencing cramps in both his legs for the last fortnight. On opening the door, he found two government officials with files and registers in hand and two policemen. The other two wore saffron kurtas and saffron mufflers.
“We have cone to collect your family details as a part of National People’s Register.”
The government clerk began questioning:
Your name? : Krishna Murthy Agnihotra
Age and date of birth? : 72, 18-10-1948
Profession? : Worked as Accounts Officer in A.P. State Electricity Board and retired in 2006.
Family details? : My wife is Sujata Devi, 68. We have one son, Ramadas, working as an Engineer in Dubai. Our daughter, Lakshmi, had done B.Com and is married. My son-in-law is a software engineer in Silicon Valley, California, USA.
Native place? : Pandita Gramam, Amalapuram Taluq, East Godavari District, A.P.
Parents details? : Father Avadhani Agnighotra, Mother Sitaramam.
“Can you produce the birth certificates of both if you? You should also show proof that both of your parents were born here in India. Your SSLC certificates, Voter ID, Ration Cards and Pass Port documents are not valid here. We need your birth certificates.”
“I was born in 1948 and my wife in 1952, in our grandparents’ villages. At that time, there were no documents issued. My wife has her janam kundali. And it is impossible for us to produce our parent’s birth certificates. My father was born 105 years ago and died 43 years back.”
Details of property: I bought this flat on retirement with my P. F fund.
Ancestral Property: One mud-brick thatched house in our village, which is in ruins now. It was built by my great grandfather 150 years back.
Can you produce your property documents? : I have the sale deed of this flat.
What about your ancestral house? : You see, there were no property documents for such an old property. Even the village mukhiya can not maintain documents that old. When my father died, my mother moved out of our village and was living with me and my elder brother. She died 23 years back.
The saffron clad man interjected and asked, “To which religion and caste you belong?”
Mr. Krishna Murthy replied, “As per the Constitution of India and numerous court judgments, it is not required to enquire about caste or religion.”
“I can understand your presence and that of the policemen. But what for have these saffron clad men here with you,” Mr. Krishna Murthy enquired.
“They are the elders of the locality to ascertain the veracity of your data” the government clerk replied.
“But how can they ascertain my data, when I don’t know them? I have been living here for the last 14 years and I have not seen them either in our street or in our locality.”
Unmindful of the reply, the saffron clad man forcefully entered the house, looked around and declared, there is no picture of Hindu Gods in your house. Only a small statue of Buddha is there. So you are a Buddhist and belong to minority religion? There is no pooja room, does it mean that you are a communist?
Before Mr. Krishna Murthy could reply, the government clerk said, a bit politely, “sir, you were not able to produce the required documents to prove that your ancestral home is India. Both of your names will not figure in the NPR.”
The saffron character interjected and asked, “from which country have you entered this country illegally? It is now clear that you are an infiltrator.”
Mr. Krishna Murthy retorted angrily, “Make a note in your records. I am an infiltrator. My ancestors, the Aryans, started from the Caspian Sea coast in Russia and entered this country illegally and violently, 3700 years ago. Also note that the gentleman in my next flat is Mr. Katti Rama Swamy and his ancestors were living in Indus Valley for the last 6000 years and entered South India 3700 years ago. Also note that the person in my opposite flat is Obelu Narasimham, an Adivasi. His ancestors entered this country 70 thousand years ago. Are you going to drive all of us out of this country? Will you send me to my ancestral place in Russia? Are you going to deport Mr. Rama Swamy back to Sind Valley, now in Pakistan?
And where are you going to send Mr. Narasimham? If you want to drive out everybody, tell me to whom this country belongs? To these Saffronites? Is this country their grandfathers property?”
The saffron man shouted angrily, “Mr. Krishna Murthy, you have refused to co-operate with us and have neither divulged your information, nor produced the required documents. The consequences will be dire!”
Mr. Krishna Murthy angrily retorted, “You are asking me to produce century old documents, which is not possible. What “dire consequences” are you talking about? Will you arrest us send to detention camps? What will you do with at least a 100 crore Indians who do not possess the documents? You are going to kill everyone like Hitler had done in Germany? What will be left for you to rule? Graves? Both me and my wife have seen life and it makes little difference at this ripe age, whether we die today or after four years. I am not able to even go the market and fetch groceries. And my wife is unable to move around due to joint pains. My pension is not sufficient to even meet our health expenses, because the Insurance Company always cheats us whenever we go for treatment. We will be thankful to you if you put us in a detention camp. Thank you and you can go now!”
The wife said coolly, “beta, please send us to that jail you are mentioning and we will be thankful to you.”
Vijaya Kumar Marla is a retired Engineer.