Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday(s)


I took my cell phone to wish my friend on his birthday, perhaps the 17th. He picked my call and paused for few seconds, bewildered, and replied, “Oh thanks...but today its just the official one, my real birthday was three months back.” I too went bewildered, and tried to figure out the difference between ‘official’ and ‘real’ birthday.

Well, my friend is not the only man on the earth (or better in India) who lives in confusion when to celebrate his birthday. Infact, a huge population celebrate their birthdays on two different days – one on the day mentioned on their passports and voter Ids and second, on the day they actually set their feet on earth.
But how it happens? As per the prevailing laws in the country, the date mentioned on the class X board marksheet/ admitcard is considered as the original date of birth. Every official statement accepts it as original DOB. Even passports, ration cards and voter ids are issued against it.
 
However, the date mentioned on the matrix certificate is, infact, never verified. Actually, the date is fixed by the parents during the admission of the child to the school. While admission, parents are required to submit an avidivit in order to verify the age of the child. But the avidivit is issued blindfoldedly, without verifying. As a consequence, parents decide the date according to their convinience and requirement.

So what they do so? They do so with a hope that their child could spend few extra months on his job even when his biological age has crossed the retirement level. But is it fair to change ones original age just to earn few extra penny? Certainly not. In fact, it is a social crime and an another form of corruption. Literally, corruption begins with birth of a child.

Under Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, government has made it mandatory for the parents to register their child’s birth within three weeks at their nearest municipal or panchayat.  However the birth certificate issued by the authority is merely a piece of paper and never put to use. As a consequence, commiting the social crime is literally child’s play.

So, what can be done? Firstly, the school management, where the crime begins, must be responsible. They should verify the date mentioned in the avidivit with the date on the birth certificate issued by the municipal. Moreover, the authorities issuing the avidivit should also verify the age before issuing .

But the best way to deal with the crime is using technology. In the era of computers and ipads, most of the municipals (atleast) are connected to WWW. So, the birth certificate should be uploaded to the web so that it can be verified later by the concerned agencies.

Changing your official date of birth cannot alter your biological age, neither can it increase your life expectancy.  Moreover, by changing your child’s DOB, you are actually introducing your child into the world of corruption.