Probing to assign birth dates

Probing to assign birth dates

So when census enumerators come knocking at the doors of people who have no precise knowledge of their dates of birth, they will determine birth dates based on the information provided by people depending on surrounding events around the time they were born. So start racking your memory to remind yourself if you were born on or close to a Ganesha or Dasara festival, or during Quit India movement or on Christmas eve.

That will be tough, but this time enumerators have been trained in the business of “probing” –– an official measure devised to discuss with people with little or no knowledge of their dates of birth and then assign them birth dates. All because the office of the Census Commissioner believes in the importance of you being counted.

Unique effort

Speaking to Deccan Herald, additional deputy commissioner and district enumerator officer S N Gangadaraiah said: “This is a unique effort to identify the date of birth of the individual who does not possess any birth certificate.”

This is how probing will operate. If a person remembers he was born when the Quit India movement was at its height, the year of birth will be recorded as 1942. If the person does not recollect the month and if he/she mentions that it was sometime during the winter or that there was a Ganesha festival around that time, then the enumerators would note it down as either January or August. The enumerators will then assign a date and a month and voila! The person will have a date of birth. It will then be recorded in the Census Register with a note that the information as given by the person.

Apart from this, other approaches have also been suggested. Local religious and national festivals in different parts of the country are important tools in probing. For instance in Karnataka, from Makara Sankranti to Margashira months have been identified and matched according to the English calendar.

Also, people who have been born on days in accordance with traditional calendars like Shalivahana Shaake, Islamic and Vikrama Samvatsara will be converted into English calendar dates. If one is born on Shalivahana Shaake 1903, his/her year of birth will be 1981 as per the English calendar.

A Gregorian calendar has been prepared which depicts all the festivals celebrated in the twelve months in the Indian calendar like New Year, Makara Sankranti, Pongal, Republic Day, Shivarathri, Holi, Ramanavami, Bihu, Mahaveer Jayanti, Good Friday, Buddha Poornima, Rathayatre, Janmashtami, Independence Day, Ganesha festival, Onam, Dasara, Durga Pooja, Navaratri, Gandhi Jayanti, Deepavali and Christmas.

Besides, it will now be compulsory to furnish information about relations within an extended family in the regional language. For instance, words denoting relationships in English –– uncle, aunt, niece and nephew –– are out.

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