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In Pursuit of Proof – A History of Identification Documents in India - Oxford Scholarship Online
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In Pursuit of Proof: A History of Identification Documents in India

Tarangini Sriraman


The imperative to produce proof of identity has shaped the very life-chances of people inhabiting the diverse geographies, socio-economic groups, and timescales of India and yet, a history of identification documents is nowhere on the horizon. How did the ration card, which went by different names such as the food card, the household consumer card, and more recently, the food security card, crystallize into proof of residence? After the Partition of India, how did the Indian state classify refugees as poor, displaced, and lower caste? Might there be alternative conceptualizations of the period ... More

Keywords: history of identification documents, India, ethnography of proof regimes, material infrastructures of welfare, popular knowledge practices, IDs in urban margins, Delhi

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780199463510
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199463510.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Tarangini Sriraman, author
Assistant Professor, School of Liberal Studies, Azim Premji University