'My Parents are on NRC and So Are My Children, But Not Me.' Has Citizenship Skipped a Generation?
Logic says if parents feature on the list their children, by extension, should also be in it. But in our case, children are missing but grandchildren are present. Has citizenship skipped a generation?
Illustration by Mir Suhail.
New Delhi: From far-away National Capital Region, the only time I can get some sense of the anxiety around the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is when I call home.
Even though my immediate family doesn't reside in Assam and neither I or my brother or our children were born in the state or have near future plans to settle there, we do have a connection to the state via my father. Our ancestral village is in South Assam. Like many from his generation, my father prefers to keep all the right boxes ticked. More so in contentious issues such as citizenship in the part of the country he grew up in.
When the NRC first draft came out in January this year, my father and my mother figured on the list but the subsequent two generations were missing. My brother also travelled from Shillong to Karimganj to get his documents verified so that the errors get rectified in the final draft.
Now when the final draft has been released, I curiously typed in the ARN number into the official website only to discover that only two additional members of our family had been listed. In addition to our parents, the list now includes my nephew and niece. I and my brother, my wife, my son and my sister-in-law are still missing.
"My parents are on NRC and so are my children, but not me. Is this the error-free NRC we had been promised?" Subhadip Choudhury, my brother, asks me over the phone.
Logic says if parents feature on the list their children, by extension, should also be. But in our case, children are missing but grandchildren are present. Has citizenship skipped a generation?
For my family, it might be more of an issue to keep the records straight but for millions of others it is enough reason to lose their sleep. What does this exclusion mean? What will it lead to? Does this mean stalessness?
People who have to struggle and fight to prove their citizenship know the fear of it being taken away from them. And there is a lot in the history of Assam to constantly remind them that their fears are not unfounded.
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