Joanna Lumley talks applying for Indian passport after British history left her ‘appalled’

Joanna Lumley fulfils a lifelong dream in her Silk Road adventure

Actress Joanna Lumley, 74, revealed she once applied for an Indian passport back in the 60s as a self-proclaimed protest, after being left “appalled” by the way Britain treated the Windrush generation. It comes as her new ITV travel diary Home Sweet Home – Travels In My Own Land, follows her around the UK, as she visits villages deep in the countryside and samples the best of what our island has to offer, including a look back at some of our darkest moments.

Back in the 60s, I applied for an Indian passport

Joanna Lumley

And it’s safe to say, whilst she cherish’s Britain in her heart, she was more than disgusted by parts of our history.

Although the Absolutely Fabulous star may seem quintessentially British, she was actually born in Srinagar in north-west India in 1946.

And despite her father being a major in the Gurkha Rifles regiment of the British Army, his service didn’t allow his family to automatically qualify for British passports, as he too was born in India.

Instead they had to buy registration papers, something that left Joanna shocked to this day.

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“I had to make myself English,” she recalled in a recent interview.

“I can’t really believe it.”

As she looks back at the UK’s history, she touched on the Windrush generation and how she remains horrified about that sequence of our past.

In 1948 the HMT Empire Windrush, carrying more than 500 passengers from Caribbean islands, docked in Tilbury as part of a major sealift to bring workers to a battered post-war Britain but many struggled to build a new life here.

“Back in the 60s, I applied for an Indian passport,” she remembered protesting the nation’s behaviour at that time.

“I was affronted by the way people were treated.”

In 2012, those who had settled in Britain had their lives turned upside down after a change in immigration laws.

The new mandate led some to face deportation but after major outrage, the government apologised in 2018.

In Travels In My Own Land, Joanna walks a corridor decorated with images of those British Caribbeans who first arrived.

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Joanna’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times [RADIO TIMES]

The actress noted: “Of course I was aware of the Windrush story, only as an observer,” she told Radio Times.

“What really resonated with me in the corridor of photographs was just how high the hopes were of people coming here, longing for a welcome that they never got.

“It hurt them like a burning iron. How appalling!”

Joanna’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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