India’s holy men can now name gurus instead of parents in their passport applications

Going somewhere?
Going somewhere?
Image: AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh
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New policies in India no longer require citizens to produce birth certificates to apply for passports. That’s good for adopted kids, orphans, and holy men.

The Indian government announced in a press briefing Dec. 23 they would relax rules around passport applications. This makes it much easier for sadhus and sanyasis, or holy men, who have renounced their pasts, Hindustan Times reports; in lieu of providing their birth parents’ names, says the ministry of external affairs, they can now write in the name of their spiritual guru.

“In these times, when the needs are slightly different than what they were 30-40 years back, they conform to the social necessities of the time,” said external affairs minister Vijay Kumar Singh of the new policies, at the briefing.

Other requirements the ministry did away with: Married people no longer have to provide marriage certificates; applicants don’t have to list two parents’ names (so single parents can apply for their kids); and divorced or separated applicants don’t have to provide the name of their spouse or former spouse.