MarginalizedAadhaar (documentary film screening)
Watch the film and explore more
  • Watch the full documentary: https://archive.org/details/marginalized-aadhaar
  • Supporting text and field diaries https://yotifellows.com
  • Full-length interviews and other supporting footage: https://archive.org/details/marginalized-aadhaar-collection


"MarginalizedAadhaar" is a 2021 documentary film that sheds light on the exclusions of marginalised communities India's biometric ID Aadhaar led to. An outcome of a year-long research by Subhashish Panigrahi, it looks at access to information, digital and other human rights, and openness in the implementation of world's largest ID programme.


  • How does lack of access to information in one's own language impact their access to public services?
  • How the state is pushing for mass surveillance in the disguise of providing rightful benefits? Which digital/human rights are violated through the rollout of Aadhaar, India's national and the world’s largest biometric ID programme?
  • How a complex mix of proprietary and open-source software use in the Aadhaar architecture raises questions on openness and transparency of the state?

These are the some of questions I have asked throughout the documentary film "MarginalizedAadhaar" that I produced as a 2019 Yoti Digital Identity Fellow. Many marginalized groups and subject experts have shared their concerns, inputs and recommendations to reduce the massive exclusions that Aadhaar has resulted in.

The interviewees who appear in the film are elders, farmers, students and many monolingual and indigenous language speakers, languages that do not even have a writing system, let alone be used for official purposes. Marginalisation is deeply tied to political, ethno-linguistic, economic and gender issues. The film covers the journey to places across thousands of kilometers inside India -- from a remote village of Uttarakhand in North India to a much remote village in the eastern Indian state of Odisha -- where the closest hospital is a few kilometers away. 

Aadhaar works for a privileged city dweller who is literate. But does it work for the majority of India that are yet to be digital literates? I have learned about the potential violation of human rights and digital rights through conversations with rights advocates and researchers. What are the practical challenges for a trans-sex worker in an unorganised labour sector who would like to be anonymous in a state that pushes the boundaries to expose their identity and eventually bring them more trouble?

Poster © 2021. Subhashish Panigrahi. (CC-BY 4.0 & CC-BY 3.0)