Countries like India, which off course I am a proud citizen of, brag about Human Rights and being the largest democracy in the world but are obviously the highest ranking crushers of basic human necessities and the right to live in the name of state security or even protecting their citizens. There are several instances and cases but the one I have been involved in for several years is a real pity about the way the government in India works and the way the government treats it own official documents and citizens.
The world we live in today no longer believes in the story of Felious Fogg’s “Around the world in 80 Days’ story”. Its far ahead and given the challenge one can make it in less then 80 hours. Our government still relies on manual processes and works at a snails pace for the people who pay them their wages through Taxes. Now here is the entire story which would surely turn you to think what are we really doing.
A person of any country cast or creed has the right to marry any human being in accordance to his belief and desires be the human being from any colour or country. No man made law can stop that, if both were happy with the fact and the marriage contract is legally binding. This is basic within the norms of human rights and every person on earth will agree to it. Both these persons have the right to live a happy and fruitful life together within the social norms of humanity. The trouble comes in when the man made boundaries are levied on these people. To further elaborate, if a person is an Indian and his spouse a Pakistani, there you are. He and she enter into a nightmare of being married to a labelled terrorist or a harmful demon for the societies of both the countries. The agony further increases when the off springs take up the citizenship of one of the two parents at an age when they are not aware of even, ending up with a passport of a nation that is termed a danger by the other.
Enough of human right bragging and enough of what each country says to other and what the politicians mean. Below is the scenario of such a couple that resides in a third country instead to get over the woes of being label unpatriotic. Remember every citizen has the right to scold their government, term it whatever they want, for they have elected it for god sake. Remember the democracy lectures, for the people, by the people and what not.
A couple with an Indian male married to a Pakistani citizen having Indian children, the male having a history of generations in India and the female having a history of generations in Pakistan, are legally married and the names of each person endorsed in the passport of the other as well as in the children’s passport as parents. The passports are issued by the government of India and Pakistan accordingly. The family is living in a third country and happy until the woes of visiting their homeland start emerging.
The Pakistani wife would obviously join her husband to her homeland when he wishes to visit. What happens, she needs a visa to travel. The legal procedure starts here for the branded terrorist from a country living in the stone age to maintain its national security.
The visa application has to be made at a private courier company that manages the mails of the local consulate, after an online form being filled by the applicant. The application consists of the printout of the online form that is supposed to be an entry in the Home Ministry database. The form along with passport copies of both the Indian male and the Pakistani wife have to be submitted, in addition to the photos and previous visas if she has traveled earlier. So far so good, one draw back and problem with the application however, is that the Pakistani wife who is dependent on her Indian husband can only enter the country from only three stipulated places. 1) Mumbai 2) Dehli 3) Chennai. The Pakistani can enter India by Air from only these places and the exit from the same place she entered. So the husband and children do not have much of a choice of International Airports of a country, making the travel cumbersome. I think it is quite acceptable for most. The second application flaw is the the Pakistani wife of the Indian can only visit places for which is she granted visa, specified in her application along with address and phone numbers of people actually staying there. Now this means they can only travel to their home town and a place or two where their relatives live and the Indians are bared from tourism of the country that it so much takes pride in. That too can be acceptable.
The application once submitted to the private company is sent to the consulate for processing. Here comes the stone age scenario. The consulate faxes the visa application to the home ministry and sends of a courier containing a few copies of the application for verification of address. The home ministry then sends of the same to local police stations and departments for verification. All of this if the approval ever comes from the home ministry would take 5 to 6 months and even more.
The irony here is that the Indian government does not approve of its own endorsement of addresses on the Indian passport of the husband as well as the name of the spouse endorsed by the government itself. What does the government want to prove?? Will the people who are threat of the security of innocent citizens arrive in the country taking such labor or simply enter the country through illegal means.
Every citizen is concerned of national security and patriotic about his country but here the country doubts his loyalty and patriotism and holds him responsible for acts of cowardice undertaken by a handful of maniacs. The irony is that the visa has to be approved each time it is submitted and takes months to get through even if the person has traveled many more times previously. Either the government needs to get its facts straight and data in place and stop harassing each and every person bringing him or her into the light of suspicion under the label of national security or face the the mistrust of its own citizens. Who would elect a government that does not trust its own citizens and its own documents so legal as the passport.
And we call ourselves a country that is advanced and well versed in communication with a caring ans nurturing culture. The other side of the scenario which is totally related to the “Chai Paani” corruption is known to every Indian and is much of a reason for the delay of documents and procedures that can be followed up on by people whom we pay to serve us and not bully us around. Let’s face it we have become a nation concerned with national security in terms of corruption and pocket filling politicians, where procedures such as these are legal persecution and harassment for the common man or let me put it this way in this wonderful season, the “mango man”, aam aadmi. A country where those in power do their every bit to stay in power yet display their might in bullying their own citizens, the people who actually not only pay their salaries but pay for their comfort, leisure and entertainment as well.