The fact that a little girl managed to get past the Turkish authorities using a toy pas-sport seems to have caused a fainting fit among many. Not so in India for we are made of sterner stuff. We are masters of the game when it comes to slipping through life with less than authentic documents. Forging documents has been raised to a fine art by us. Many a worthy has been caught with doctoral certificates from universities abroad which don’t exist but that does not stop them from displaying their achievements to a disbelieving public. Obtaining ration cards in the name of non-existent relatives, indeed even dead ones, is par for the course. And we all know about faking medical certificates. After a few days of malingering around, a friendly doctor or even a friendlier compounder will give, for a consideration of course, a certificate suggesting that an imminent exit from this world is a possibility unless more leave is given by the hapless employer. And off and away goes the culprit to enjoy his days pottering around. It does get a little frightening when you find that your neighbourhood doctor who has been prescribing pink pills for everything from conjunctivitis to bronchitis has a degree which looks like an MBBS but on closer look is a newspaper cutting from the Muzaffarnagar gazette.
The production of fake identification has just got easier for those of us who are inclined to skate on the wrong side of the law. With the plethora of identity cards that the average Indian is now expected to possess, it might be easier to fool the authorities. Imagine that you are stopped by the police and asked to produce your identification. You will whip out your licence, your official ID, your club memberships, your credit cards, your debit cards, your Aadhaar card, your NPR card, your ration card if you have one, your medical insurance card, your passport, your blood detail card and photographs of your mother and father.
By the time the police have gone through all that, they are not likely to be able to tell which is the real thing and which is not. So, go ahead, make your own passport at home and give it a shot next time you travel. You might get a few years in the clink but think of the fun you’ll have if you get away with it.