Why a celebrated Russian artist chose to become an Indian citizen

This Article First Appeared In The Scroll On Sept 26, 2023

In the spring of 1960, when Narayanan Raghavan Pillai, the secretary general in the Ministry of External Affairs, received an application from a foreign-born celebrity to become an Indian citizen, he immediately requested his colleagues in the Home Ministry to send him a copy of the Citizenship Act of 1955. This was no ordinary application. Up until then, Indian civil servants were used to processing naturalisation requests from Commonwealth citizens, but this appeal came from someone who was neither a national of a former British colony nor had any citizenship at all.

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