Gender, Migration and Fundamental Rights: A Discourse on India‘s Commitment to its Constitution

Author:   Aruna Chawla
Publisher:   GRFDT
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A widespread phenomenon in India is internal migration involving large numbers of people migrating from their homes
to other places. Statistics show that a majority of these are women who move for familial and economic reasons. Further,
the feminization of migration, along with globalization, has altered the position of men living in families impacted by
this. Men are not the only breadwinners in the family. They also receive remittances from female partners living outside
the city, and thus may attain new family or household functions. The paper attempts to analyse the differences between
civil, political, social and economic roles of men and women that are considered ‘appropriate’ and ‘proper’ in a
predominantly Hindu, Indian society. The paper looks at the ways in which migration, globalization and development
impact accepted societal roles and the changing trends and patterns emerging from this phenomenon. Focus is not only
those who migrate, but also those in whose geographical proximities this migration occurs. All this is studied in the
context of Right to Freedom of Movement guaranteed by the Constitution of India, and its interplay with other
fundamental rights of the Constitution. Migration in India is a challenged phenomenon not only due to the lack of socioeconomic
infrastructure to support the migrants, but also due to an existing hostility in the minds of the common people.
The vehement fight to protect status quo in Maharashtra by Shiv Sena and the resulting philosophical considerations of
sharing of space, the status of rickshaw pullers in Delhi, the labour dilemma in other parts of India, etc. are a matter of
constant debate. The paper attempts to look at migration from a gender lens, to analyse the constitutional freedoms
provided to these migrants.
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