Migration is deeply associated with development, especially change in economic, political, social, and educational as well as marriage relationship: Prof. Vivek kumar

People migrate with certain desire, goals and they work accordingly. They develop their own networks and they undergo some changes. Because of that the parameters of society also changes. The economic, political, educational and social institutions change accordingly, said Prof. Vivek Kumar (VK)  in conversation with Jeetendra D Soni (JS)

JS: How migration is influencing the socio-cultural mosaic of home and host society?

VK. When people migrate, they don’t migrate as biological souls. They take their socio-cultural baggages with them. Cultural baggage means language, literature, food, their habits, kinship, marriage pattern etc.  When they migrate they don’t go as passive human being. They start interacting with people at their destination. With their cultural baggages they come in contact with people. As a result the new form of accommodation and assimilation takes place.  As a result of this a new form of assimilated culture emerges. For example in case of language this interaction gives birth to Hinglish, where Hindi mingles with English. Culture is not a pristine and pure, it interacts with other cultures, it amalgamates and it influences each other.

JS: How do you perceive Migration and Development relationship?

VK: Since inception, people migrate from one place to another. Animal, insect, human being all migrate. Two simple factors are: push and pull factor. Always migration takes place in the influence of these factors. It is a normal “social fact” in sociological parlance. Certain people think their condition is not good at their place of stay and therefore they migrate. This works as push factor. Certain people think that the condition is good other side, therefore they migrate. They migrate for grabbing new opportunities. This works as a pull factor. People migrate with certain desire, goals and they work accordingly. They develop their own networks and they undergo some changes. Because of that the parameters of society also changes. The economic, political, educational and social institutions change accordingly. We term this as development. We often think the development in terms of economic development- better livelihood, better opportunity etc. I think migration is deeply associated with development, especially change in economic, political, social, and educational as well as marriage relationship.

JS: Do you think migration gives true representation to the weaker sections of the society?


VK: I think, we should see this in case of internal migration. The rate of migration is highest from rural to rural areas. Largely, working class and landless labours migrate from rural to rural areas other than migration of females for marriage purposes. There are two types of migration. One is natural migration. There is also induced migration. There are new cities or satellite cities where people come mostly from well-educated and well-off family. In this type of migration, there is not much representation from marginalised sections of the society.  There is no representation of weaker sections of the society as far as education, job, health relation is concerned. Most of the facilities and access to these in urban areas are not favourable for the marginalised people.


JS: As you have mentioned now thatthe Urban centres does not have proper facilities for marginalised section. In this connection, what are the factors that pushing them to come and join these urban centres?

VK: The conditions at the local level are so bad that these people look for little better opportunities. Actually they are forced to migrate. All the good colleges, new jobs etc. available in these centres with a hope to get a chance of getting little bit better facilities. People from North East, Bihar etc. are migrating to Delhi, Chandigarh, Pune, Bangalore etc. with this hope. I think lack of proper educational facilities and also non-availability of jobs at local level are the most important reasons for which they migrate to these urban centres. Though, this is again a matter of concern that how much access these people have to avail these facilities. Actually situation is measurable.


JS: How the changing dynamics of Indian society influencethe diaspora? As we know diaspora use to follow many social practices from the place of origin.

VK: One thing is sure that India has the biggest diaspora community only after the China. More than 25 million people from this country are present on the different parts of the globe. In that people from 6-7 states of India dominates. So far as identity is concerned there are good amount of Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, Telugu and Tamil Diaspora in the overall Indian diasporic community. The north Indian diaspora from Bihar and UP also exist in good numbers. Who were these people who migrated to many countries initially since the time of indenture system? Its the poor people who migrated to West Indies, South Africa, Malaysia, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius, Fiji etc. and they formed the old Indian diasporic community. They formed their own community at the places of their destination and maintained their identity too. They were in good numbers. They have interacted with local communities and tried to create their own space on foreign lands. After independence in 1960s a new wave of emigration of well-educated and professionally qualified people started and they migrated to the developed pockets of the world such as UK, USA, Australia, Canada etc. Their identity has started changing from the earlier one. On the other side Oil Boom in middle-east attracted working class from India since 1970s. Later professionals have also joined this stream. After 1990s a new phase has emerged in the history of formation of Indian diaspora. This is highly influenced from the process of globalisation and largely dominated by the technocrats from IT sector.

This whole range of Indian Diaspora has their own cultural identity and they have influenced the economy and polity of their places of destination. In Indian cinema also we can trace out these changes of evolution of identity of Indian Diaspora. Many Indian cinemas show that how Indian diasporic community is culturally intact and how the changing dynamics in Indian society have influenced Indian diaspora.


JS: There is an irony that even diaspora lives and work in foreign countries but still they carry the evils of castism?

VK: As I mentioned earlier also that when people migrate they migrate with their cultural baggages and caste is one of the most ancient institution with which they migrate. Caste is not only an evil against people from certain community in terms of exploitation of others. But it is also an enabling institution. People from the similar caste usually block together to form their own larger group. They get cushion on foreign land for interaction and support when they do not have any other institutional mechanism to help them. Caste is a natural group of which they are membertoo. Therefore they start reasserting that institution again. This is a draconian institution for excluding people but at the same time this is an enabling institution too for binding people from the similar caste identity. That is why they maintain the caste. Even people want to marry in their own caste. When people migrate abroad they are at loss of their cultural and identity. So they want to be intact with caste institution. This provides them economic, social and emotional security too.

For More details, pl. Visit to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M79nRhkWTKk

Interview Date:   Saturday, Apr 01, 2017
Person Name:   Prof. Vivek Kumar

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