• Internal Borders, vulnerability and Hope: Migration Narratives from Northeast India.

    Nagalapalli Nagaraju (see profile)
    Item Type:
    borders, migrants
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    Borders, a legacy of imperialism, paradoxically have grown in the postcolonial world. A very widely read postcolonial critic puts their growing numbers currently at 77 from 15 at the end of World War II. These concrete walls, imposing though physically, pale into insignificance, in comparison with the numerous internal borders the citizens of some nations struggle to negotiate in their everyday lives for a living. They are not lines at the edges but practices often invisible and intersectional, and at times difficult to overcome. They are consequence and production of power relationship. Principle of control and exclusion underlie them, posing huge challenge to the citizenry of nation state. The migrants of the Northeast India who even before the pandemic were continually at the receiving end in the urban centres. Internal practices (borders) like ethnicity, language, religion and other cultural practices make them extremely vulnerable and dispensable. Coming from the communities with strong territorial affinities with limited or no state presence in their lives, developing new skills sought by hospitality and other service sectors of a diversified economy, they often lose their moorings under exclusionary and oppressive practices. Building social networks and forming associations to access the welfare schemes, and trying to reach out to their more deprived fellow migrants, they kindle their lives with a utopianism which is often dashed by the governments or employers or even by cataclysmic events like the pandemic, but rekindled by the memories of home. Their lives are marked by ‘a shadow in the future', and they endlessly try to catch up with that shadow, as it were, ‘to inhabit the image of their hope’. This paper, through the troubled narratives of the migrants will try to understand and figure out the workings of this hope and the spirit of border crossing.
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago


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