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Indian Diaspora: A Multifaceted Social Phenomenon

The research study of Diaspora has emerged as a vital and variegated area of multidisciplinary knowledge in recent decade. The word ‘Diaspora’ in Greek means dispersed or scattered community.  This meaning needs a deep understanding as ‘Dispersed’ or ‘Scattered’ both develops a negative connotation but the hypocrisy on Diaspora and diplomatic juggernaut of modernity has left less opportunity for researchers to study the pain of detachment. Story of Indian migration started as indentured labourers in British era which soon slipped to pull factors. And the primary cause of immigration and settlement in host country become economic reason like economic inconvenience and less employment opportunities with low job securities. Initially, during the colonial period there started the process of Westernization (where upper class started imitating western life style) to counter Sanskritization (lower caste imitates the higher caste in order to raise their social position). To maintain the supremacy of knowledge and feeling of superiority over masses royal families and upper business class started sending their kids to foreign lands for studies. This had two benefits, first as mentioned above and other was to keep healthy relations with British rule. Neither the first nor the second reason necessitate conditions to settle in foreign lands.

But in this Global era, the pattern of migration has faced paradigm shift which could be visualized as a new determinant of migration. Modernity has continued the trend to study abroad or to have a foreign exposure. The pull and push factors, now a days, are not very evident for the increasing Indian diaspora at foreign land. But still financial and job insecurity are the major push factor for migration followed by permanent settlements. And due to lack of pull factors these migrants never return to home land, who left the country of origin with plans to return back. However it does not imply their dislike for their tradition, social structure and culture of natal community, which they are still preserving in host countries. Diaspora is one among the leading factor in social transformation and development of India. The financial support that is received by families in India is noticeable. Most of the studies of Indians abroad has functionalist orientation which creates space for analysing the subject with other perspectives, including that of conflict. Accordingly, this research work is organised to understand Diaspora with socio- economic and socio- political perspective.

When we cherish the gigantic figure of Indian diaspora in foreign land or highest in comparison to countries all over the world, it sounds good but at the same time it becomes the matter of concern. In other words, Indians make up the biggest population living outside their country of birth. Leaving the country of origin and settling at country of destination is the process of identity crises, cultural conflict, adjustments, de-socialization, resocialization, assimilation, adaptation etc. at first hand. And this process is for both migrants and families which are left behind in country of origin. High number of diaspora is the mirror of employment and education policies. It could be cherished as well as cursed. But fact remains the same that citizens are separating from or leaving our country and rejecting the options to come back. This processes starts with altruism but ends with individualistic approach. Dynamism of hypocrisy on diaspora has blocked the minds to think over it with other dimensions and understand the issues of brain drain & pain of scattered communities called Diaspora.  A thorough research is required on this area of concern to understand the difficulties faced by the first generation diaspora and proper policies need to be framed for their homecoming.

Author Dr Virendra Singh

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