A+| A| A-

The Case of Outmigrants from Barpeta, Assam

Citizenship in Dispute

Migration from Barpeta in Assam to Lucknow has been adopted as a strategy to escape from the problems of flood, poverty, and even identity crisis in the native state. However, this strategy is still not good enough to live a decent life without fear.

Migration is a very common yet intriguing and complex phenomenon in the process of development of economies and societies. It influences the society, polity, geography, culture, demography and economy in different ways and degrees. But what appears to be a mere geographic phenomenon has far-reaching implications for economies and societies and the distribution of people and resources. This article is based on the fieldwork conducted in two cities, one is the destination, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and the other is the source, Barpeta in Assam. The purpose of conducting this kind of research was to know the reasons and the background of migration of approximately more than 90,000 people (Vigyan Foundation1 2017–18) who have migrated from Barpeta to Lucknow. The unique feature of this migration is that all the migrants claim to have come from only one place—the Barpeta road, the railway station of Barpeta district. All are Bengali Muslims (of East Bengal origin) coming from lower Assam, who are called Miya Muslims.

These migrants in Lucknow have informally developed a system of door to door collection of waste and have found their livelihood in waste, thus digressing from their ancestral agrarian occupation in Assam. In Lucknow the public perception is that they are Bangladeshis, while they call themselves Assamese, and their inhabitations are known as Assamiya basti. During our field visit when we asked other people residing near the bastis of these migrants, if they were also from Assam, they would very distinctly answer, “nahi sahib hum Assamiya nahi hain, hum to yahi ke hain. Bahar se to ye log aye hai aur hamara kaam bhi chheen liya hai.” (No sir we are not from Assam, we belong to this place only. They have come from outside and have even snatched our work.) This statement reflected a kind of hostility in towards these outsiders by the people belonging to the Valmiki community who have been traditionally practising this trade. These migrants are scattered all over the city and are closely connected with each other. The group is homogeneous in terms of their culture, language, eating habits, festivals and attire and also share similar problems both at the destination and the source. In Assam they are allegedly called Bangladeshis and in Lucknow too, many a time, they are mistaken to be Bangladeshis.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 29th Oct, 2018

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

C P Bhambri believed that the task of social science, like all other sciences, was to arrive at the truth on the basis of well-established facts....

The COVID-19 pandemic may affect the financing opportunities for innovation. The revenue loss induced by the pandemic is likely to divert the...

When the goods and services tax was introduced in July 2017, states were given a revenue guarantee of 14% per annum on their GST revenue over the...

India’s public health system has struggled to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Even before the pandemic, India’s public health infrastructure was...

The National Education Policy, 2020 unveiled finally seeks to usher in major structural reforms in higher education. Among many measures,...

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown led to the closure of all markets in Manipur, including the Tribal Market Complex in Imphal East...

Coherent national strategies, backed by regional cooperation efforts, offer a way forward for economic recovery in South Asia, which is rapidly...

Sections 357 and 357-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 lay down the procedure for granting compensation to the victims of crime. Under the...

The COVID-19 pandemic has provocatively challenged the extant paradigm of development whose theoretical underpinning is derived from the...

The first report of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has allayed many fears that arose after the notification of the terms of reference of the...

Back to Top