Privacy maybe our Fundamental Right but in the recent past, the issue has been mired in controversy.
A video labelled Privacy Matters featuring activist Sofia Ashraf, folk singer Shital Sathe, Carnatic music vocalist TM Krishna and author Perumal Murugan, seeks to address this issue. The multilingual song begins by applauding the Supreme Court’s judgement that Right to Privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty, making it a Fundamental Right.
However, the video strikes a particularly sensitive nerve, the much-debated Aadhaar card. The video talks about how through the Aadhaar card registration, which started off as a voluntary system, has since become mandatory thereby, it argues, curbing one’s very right to exercise the freedom of choice and privacy.
Excerpts from the inimitable Sofia’s section that totally needed to be reiterated:
Vocalist TM Krishna, quotes Kabir as he sings (sic) “This is our house of love, not your private property. My freedom is not at your mercy, my freedom to choose, my freedom to live, my freedom of privacy.”
He goes on to talk about how identity is our own choice; what they choose to eat or drink or wear or who they choose as a sexual partner or who they choose to elect in power – is a personal choice. Krishna’s demand? The right to make the Aadhaar, “niraadhar” (baseless).
Next up is Perumal Murugan, a celebrated Tamil novelist who recounts the time when the police came unannounced at his doorstep and monitored every move of his family for the next two months. He talks about how everything changed: from relatives stopping coming, neighbours acted awkward around them and their life was never the same again.
In the end, a Marathi folk song, by Shital Sathe and Sachin Mali of Navayan Maha Jalsa pit the idea of a democracy vs the idea behind Aadhaar card. From what to wear to what to speak and write, everything seems to be decreed. The folk song draws a strong comparison between how lakhs of people remain unemployed and yet their fingerprints are being recorded and ID’ed.
Hard-hitting, you say? Damn right, and about time.
You can watch the full video here:
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