Somehow, an Indian man’s plan to renounce religion went from sensible to just plain weird…
Rajveer Upadhyay has a name that, in India, suggests both a religion and caste. He doesn’t buy into either system, so he figured changing his name would be a way to get a fresh start. He wrote to the local government to make it happen. But they had no clue what to do.
The Times of India reports:
“Nobody needs to necessarily follow a religion in this world, so you please declare me an atheist or secular. After you declare me an atheist, I want to be renamed as RV155677820 in government documents like election card (voter ID), college degree, PAN card and Aadhaar card,” states the application filed by Upadhyay.
As if Indian names weren’t hard enough to pronounce already…
Sure, no one would mistake him for being part of a particular caste. But I’m not sure the alternative would be that much better.
In case you’re wondering why he needs the government’s permission to change religions, it’s the result of the ironically named Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act. Passed in 2006, the bill was supposed to prevent people from being forced into religious conversion… but it also gets in the way of freedom of choice.
You shouldn’t need permission from the government to change your mind about faith, whether it’s converting from one to another or ditching it entirely.
But changing your name to… whatever the hell we want to call RV155677820? That may require government approval.
They haven’t given it to him yet.
Attempts to reach Mr. 155677820 for comment were unsuccessful.
(Image via Facebook. Thanks to Brian for the link)