During a recent trip to Bengaluru, India’s Silicon valley, I came across a car with an interesting license place that proudly indicated that the occupant was a “Honorary Consul of the Republic of Djibouti.”
I was intrigued and was reminded of Graham Greene’s bestseller. What was a Honorary Consul of the tiny African nation doing in Bengaluru, I wondered.
Of course, this is not yet another vanity plate: The title is conferred after a lot of vetting, verfification and approvals by the host nation and the home country. Ref: Honorary Consular Corps Diplomatique-India (HCCD-India) was formed in 1995. This website also has a directory of Honorary Consuls representing foreign governments in various parts of India.
Modern day Honorary Consuls are a part of the city’s elite (ref TOI)
It’s an elite clique: Their swanky cars bear black number plates encrypted with white letters, sport flags of a foreign country, they are guests at all the governor’s events, and have special entry to the seat of power – Vidhana Soudha and Vikas Soudha. They are Honorary Consuls — the creme of society who represent different countries but live right here in Bangalore.
The perks come with great responsibility, though; they are local guardians of the nationals of their respective countries who drop into Bangalore, either on a personal or business trip. Should they run into trouble in the city over issues related to passports, commute, money, they can turn to the Consul for help and guidance.
Consuls are also brand ambassadors of their host country, promoting its political trade and culture in India, particularly Bangalore.
– Mohan, Editor, GaramChai.com