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Democratic Indian (n/a)     05 December 2010

Importance of caste in passport renewal!

well 3 yrs ago, i thought that for the first time, let me do things well in advance rather than

So 6 months before my passport was due to expire, i put in an application for renewal.And since i travel a lot, i applied for a 'jumbo' passport by paying extra.

Now i post my passport (its friday) and go to another town to meet a friend over the weekend.
Early on sat morning (lunch time in India) i am informed that my grandfather passed away.

I was shocked since it was unexpected (though old, he was fit and not unwell or anything).
Now my passport was still in the system. (not in the letterbox since it would have been taken out in the saturday morning delivery; but wouldnt reach the embassey by monday. Next day being sunday, there was no way i could apply for emergency documents to travel in time for the funeral (in India the body isnt kept for days like in the west).

So on monday i request the embasey to:
1) either process my passport really quickly
2) not to process my application but to return it to me so i can travel to india and at least attend the 'tiya' (third day).

Now i am connected to some officer who can consider this reqwuest. I tell them my grandfather passed away and i want to go to india.

The first thing he asks me is ................
my caste.
yes thats right, my caste. Can you believe it?

I answer ******.

Apparently wrong answer because he happens to be ****** and (i am guessing) doesnt like ****** (my caste).

so he says since i have made an application for renewal, they cant cancel it so it has to go through the channel and renew my passport. He says it takes a few weeks but i plead for him to reconsider.

He says he will get back to me.
I call up my family and tell them i cant attend the 'tiya'.

I am now hoping to attend the barawah. (the 12th day).
I heard nothing for 2 days; in the meanwhle i am trying to persue the matter by calling the embassey.

Then someone calls me and says there is a problem; they dont have the 'jumbo' versions in stock.
So i say no problem give me the normal one.
They say they wont refund me the difference.

I ask why and tell them its not a question of money but principles that why should they charge me for something they arent giving me.

They say either i wait for the jumbo stock to come from india or go for the normal sized.

I tell them i need to travel so ill make do with the normal one.
They refused to acknowledge this in writing or give me a reciept.

After 2 more days they tell me that my passport is ready and i should come at 3 pm to collect it.

I have paid ofr postage already but since this is a special case, they wont post it. And they wont refund the money/difference.

This time i dont argue and tell them that ito get to Bharat bhawan at 3 ill need to take the day off work which i dont want to since i would rather use the time to spend with my family in India. So:
1) either post it (special delivery will reach me in 1 day since i live in london; and it doesnt compromise my plans for the 12 day)

2) call me at 5 so i can leave work early without taking leave


3) give me the day after the first thing in the morning so i can collect it and then go to work.

But they say no it has to be at 3 pm tomorrow only.

so i take 1 day additional leave and reach bharat bhawan.

Just like the american embassey, they have 2 enterances, the main and the side.
(the side enterance in indian embassey leads into a basement).

But in the US embassey, the main enterance is for us citizens and side enterance for the other natyionilities and in Bharat bhawan, the side enterance is for indians!! :!:

So i go into the basement and i want to ask what to next.
The office was indian sarkari daftar style with 2 clerks sitting behinf wiremeshes and bars and not even acknowledging my presence; let alone answer my questions.

There was no token system/ticket numbers. and there must have been 70 other people everyone asking each other questions.

SOmeoine tells me he was told to report at 11 am.
So i just sit there and wait.
I wait for another 2 hours. By then its 5pm and both the clerks in the room pack up and leave with the people there asking questions.
Now its 5:30 pm and no idea whats happening.
I am thinking if i had known this, i wouldnt have taken leave but would have come after work.

Suddenly a man comes to a window and empties a bag of passports on his desk. They are all piled up. He randomly picks up one and calls the name out.
There is so much commotion and there is no queue or a mike for announcements. Plus no one is aware that this is going to happen. Some people are in the loo, some not facing that particular window (which had been unmanned for the last 3 hours) so no one knows which name has been called. Since no one answers, that passport is promptly thrown back into the heap
Then he randomly picked up another one and called out the name. this time someone answers.

Soon my name is called out and i go to him. He has 2 passports in his hands; my oldone and my new one.
When i extend my hand to collecrt them, that man asks me for proof of id.

I say bro, my passport is in your hands. thats my biggest proof.
He says no. I say i dont have a car and no drivers license yet. Plus i tell him my case and how no one had told me to get a proof of id to collect the passport and how in the other embassies, they open the passport and then see if your face matcheds the pic in the passport.
He says he needs proof. I reply you have a 6 foot proof of id staring you in the face but yet you cant see it.

this makes the crowd roar with laughter. He still is stubborn and asks me to make an affidavit.

I do the affidavit and finally get the passport.
The other people still awaiting their turn look at me with envy as if i have won the lottery.

I do hope that such a thing happens to no one. I have been to many consulates/embassies but the worst treatment i have recieved was in Bharat Bhawan, my own embassey.



 2 Replies

adv. rajeev ( rajoo ) (practicing advocate)     05 December 2010

At last you got! Great Bharat Bhavan.

sangram (service)     06 December 2010

Democratic Indian,

It is wrong to ask any one's caste. but one of the possibility is they may want to know the real reason behind your urgency, by checking the caste practices.

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