Is it Safe to Have an Aadhaar Number?

Tales from the Encrypted

Is it Safe to Have an Aadhaar Number?

Illustration: Saachi Mehta/ Arré


n the Hollywood-flavoured musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, the protagonist Jean Valjean bursts into a courtroom, belting out in an awkward baritone: “Who am I? Two-Four-Six-Oh-One!”

Valjean, formerly prisoner 24601, had stolen a loaf of bread to feed his widowed sister’s starving children, only to end up serving 19 years in prison for his misdeeds. His captor, the ruthless inspector Javert, had arrested a man bearing a striking resemblance to Valjean, seeking to imprison him once more for violating parole. But Valjean altruistically saves him by revealing his identity to the court.