Organized Panel Session
This paper examines the history of citizenship in India through the lenses of those individuals and families who moved to and out of the territorial limits of the Indian state after 1947. In particular, it focuses on the movement of Indian Jews to Israel and Indians in Burma and Sri Lanka in the transitional decade of the 1950s to suggest that such ‘migrations’ and the fate of Indians in these regions were crucial in the understanding and framing of policies and legislations around Indian citizenship. Beyond legislations, the Indian state sought to regulate such mobility through the production of naturalization certificates and special passports. Such documents, although intended to assert the authority of the Indian state through the ascription of nationality, heavily borrowed the norms and regulations of documentary control under the colonial era. By examining two specific aspects: the Indian state’s understandings of citizenship when it came to Indians outside of India and the technologies that such individuals had to encounter in their efforts to belong, I hope to historicize post-colonial citizenship and examine the distinct path that has framed the fate of overseas Indians in recent years.