The modern EPIC

Evidently, I am not talking about The Ramayana or the Mahabharatha. Nor the epics of other cultures like the Iliad. By EPIC, I am referring to Electors' Photo Identity Card.

With elections in Bangalore around the corner, all the talk is about this EPIC. I was fortunate to get my EPIC a few years back. Me and wife had applied for entry in the electoral rolls together. For some reason (we decided not to press for a CBI enquiry), my entry was present in the rolls and not my wife's. So I got my EPIC.

This time around, her name figured in the electoral rolls. Now, how does one get one's EPIC? Newspapers wrote about this being issued in designated places (typically government schools) - each day at a different place. Since the last time EPICs had been issued was 2-3 years back, these centers witnessed huge queues as also technical glitches. We realised it would take half-a-day of standing in the queue and a large amount of luck to get the EPIC.

The same newspapers wrote about drop boxes. People could fill Form 001 (what a number!), affix their photos and drop the form into these boxes. Subsequently they could collect their cards after 48 hours. "What an idea, surgeee", I thought! They also wrote that one could get their EPICs from Bangalore One! So, would the drop box be placed in Bangalore One - that wasn't clear. Could one drop the Forms in a drop box and collect the EPIC from Bangalore One - that wasn't evident either.

The sincere citizen that I am, I checked out the Election Commission website and downloaded Form 001. What do you know - the form was completely in Kannada - but for a few numbers.

Around the same time, these papers carried a report on how the drop boxes were a miserable failure.

I could not help wondering, how simple it would have been, if people were asked to affix their photo while applying for entry in the electoral rolls. Then it would be a simple matter for just distributing the EPICs, instead of creating them on the spot and the associated technical glitches.