The birthday of every individual is celebrated in the western culture as a special day each year because they use it as a day of reckoning for their past year’s performance as well as an occasion to plan for self-improvement till the next birthday. This is not a part of the Christian religious faith but a creation of new scientific thought turned into annual ritual. A teacher once told us in our class that if somebody in a western country asked you about your birthday and you said that you did not know when it was, he would be as surprised as if you just told him that you did not know your name. There is an elaborate arrangement made by the government for registration of birthday of every child born in western countries. But despite that it is not necessary to produce a birthday certificate issued by the registration authority there. Instead, if an individual cannot produce a birth-certificate, she/he is allowed to submit an affidavit given by the parents or any nearest blood relatives attesting to his/her birthday and it is accepted as a legal birth certificate. Unfortunately, in our country every law is turned into a means of corruption. Our society does not consider birthday as an important date but only as an abhorrent reminder that one year of their life has been lessened. That is why most parents don’t care to register their children’s birthday. Moreover, no elaborate arrangement for registration of birth of newborns exists in our country, especially in the rural areas. But on the other hand, the NADRA district offices, at least in cities like Muzaffargarh, do not entertain any application without a birth certificate from the union council. Most of our population is illiterate so the union council authorities charge about Rs. 2000 to issue a birth certificate without giving any receipt. I have heard that this money is then shared with the NADRA offices. The government of Pakistan is requested to order NADRA to accept the age affidavit by the nearest blood relatives in lieu of birth certificate especially in the case of non-matriculates or illiterates.

KALEEM MALIK,

Muzaffargarh, August 23.