Her disease to affect fingerprint, so she opposes Aadhaar


Idiya Pal suffers from a rare connective tissue disorder.Idiya Pal suffers from a rare connective tissue disorder.

NEW DELHI: In May this year, 14-year-old Idiya Pal drew a cartoon against Aadhaarand posted it online. The young, home-schooled pianist was a year ago diagnosed with a genetical disease that may lead to her losing her fingerprints and this was her first step towards activism.
Almost seven months later, accompanied by her father and a family friend, she is holding her first public protest. They stand on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg holding a black banner. While Adarish Pal, Idiya’s father, and Gaurav Satyaprakash explain the concept of Aadhaar and argue that it violates the privacy of an individual, Idiya goes around distributing flyers to passersby.

Idiya was against Aadhaar from the time she can remember but the latest trigger was a news report she saw this summer. “I made a cartoon on it. Then my father and I kept looking for a platform to show others my work and to participate in the discussions on the issue. That’s how we found a Facebook page named ‘Say no to Aadhaar/UID’ which had been created by some activists almost five years back,” she recalls.

She suffers from Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting connective tissues. These tissues hold the cells, organs and other tissues together. As these are present throughout the body, it affects every part of the body, and in certain cases, as in Idiya’s, leads to illegible fingerprints, making her ineligible for benefits under Aadhaar

“I know that I will lose my fingerprints, so it is much more important for me to stand up and tell people why it is a problem,” she says. “Voluntary is the word. Whoever wants to get an Aadhaar should get it and whoever doesn’t should not. How can the entire identity of a person rest on a card? We are not anti-government but we are anti-Aadhaar,” she adds.

The three were supposed to be joined by many other activists but they pulled out. “I don’t know why they pulled out,” says Adarish Pal. “Everyone these days believes in armchair activism,” he says.

Pal, an inventor and environmentalist, who has many patents to his name, says he was made aware of the “drawbacks” of Aadhaar by his friends’ daughter. “She is a government employee and does not have an Aadhaar card yet. She explained how it is so easy to tamper with your details and biometrics in Aadhaar and if this happens you will lose your identity,” he says.

Satyaprakash debates the issue with many people and explains to them what they consider to be the demerits of Aadhaar. “Children are denied admission into schools. Have they evaded any tax,” he asks.