Renowned author Ruskin Bond, celebrating his 90th birthday today, reflected on a peculiar encounter at Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple. Recounting the incident, he revealed being labeled as a “foreigner” and asked to pay an additional fee for entry. Despite being born to British parents in Himachal Pradesh’s Kasauli in 1934, Bond has steadfastly embraced his Indian identity and has been a resident of India for numerous years.

Despite his unequivocal Indian allegiance,Ruskin Bond has encountered instances where he’s perceived as a foreigner within his homeland. He recounted a scenario at the Konark Sun Temple where he had to pay an additional fee to avert a disagreement with the authorities. “They levy an extra charge on foreigners for entry into Konark,” he conveyed to news agency PTI, “I insisted, ‘I am not a foreigner, I am an Indian.’ Nevertheless, to circumvent an altercation, I acquiesced and paid the additional amount.”

Ruskin Bond amusingly narrated an incident involving another individual, a sardar ji, possessing a British passport yet exempt from the supplementary fee owing to a deviation from the foreigner stereotype.

Throughout his life, Bond has fervently asserted his Indian identity, underscoring his Indian lineage not solely by birth but also by choice. He has observed and embraced the metamorphoses in India pre- and post-Independence.


Bond’s literary oeuvre is extensive, comprising over 500 short stories, essays, and novels, including 69 books for children. He has garnered numerous prestigious accolades, including the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Sahitya Akademi Award, as well as the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan honors.


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