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Taken identity

At an age when most boys get their hands on their first toy pistol, Shiv Prasad Yadav has earned the dubious distinction of being the world’s youngest gangster.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2009 22:18 IST

At an age when most boys get their hands on their first toy pistol, Shiv Prasad Yadav has earned the dubious distinction of being the world’s youngest gangster. Uttar Pradesh’s finest have produced him in court for stealing trucks and selling them and, in one electrifying encounter, firing at cops. Amazing feats for a four-year-old! Think of the truly astounding career in crime that awaits such a prodigy. At eight, Master Yadav should be tipping a can of Sarin into a Stinger missile, at 12 Osama bin Laden would be begging to hire his services.

History, alas, is in the unmaking. The enfant terrible from India’s Wild East, it turns out, has nightmares figuring out his carbon atom from helium. The only link with the underworld the gangster in eighth grade has is during botany practicals. The trip to a Varanasi courthouse every fortnight breaks the monotony of Master Yadav’s days at a Rohtak school. With the wheels of Indian justice turning to the beat of a cosmic clock, Shiv’s opportunity to skip classes could very well extend to his university days.

Now the name Shiv Prasad Yadav, which our lad shares with a man accused of committing the abovementioned misdemeanors, is as common in UP as Chang in China or Ali in Arabia. Had the Jaunpur police bestirred itself, it could have rounded up a score of Shiv Prasad Yadavs in place of the absconding gent. Summons could have gone out to all. Why should li’l Shiv have all the fun? Which makes chappies like him look to Nandan Nilekani’s grand plan to provide every resident of India his or her unique identification (UID) number. So that young Shiv is not mistaken for the nasty Shiv who, come to think of it, might not think it a bad idea for identities to be mixed up at all.