Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Migration and Marginality: A Sociological Insight of Kashmiri Pandits

Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Migration and Marginality: A Sociological Insight of Kashmiri Pandits

Article excerpt

The history of mankind is the history of human movement, mostly voluntary, but as the world became more populated and as open spaces began to shrink, these movements increasingly became involuntary. People subjected to different forms of insecurity, whether stemming from violence or from lack of access to a decent life or as the result of economic deprivation, are leaving their hearths and homes in search of safety and greater opportunities elsewhere. A similar situation occurred in 1988-89 in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The rise of insurgency in the Kashmir Valley and its adjoining areas since 1988 led to an ethno-religious divide between the two major communities inhabiting the valley and its immediate and a major consequence has been the migration of 55,304 families, which mostly comprised of minority Kashmiri Pandit (Hindu) families, to Jammu and other parts of the country. Displacement and marginalisation is historical in the life of the Kashmiri Pandit Community. The outbreak of militancy changed the whole scenario. People at the time thought it as a temporary kind of migration, which some of them attempted even before 1989, but they failed to realise its gravity at that time. Now after 20 years of displacement they are facing the wrath of migration in the form of threat to the future of their progenies. An attempt has been made to study the changes that the community witnessed through time in their socio-cultural and demographic-economic sphere after displacement. The paper has tried to look in to the migration process leading to marginality in case of Kashmiri Pandits after 1989-90. Effect of migration on the socio-economic and cultural life of Kashmiri Pandits after 1989-90. The process of de-ethnicszation that has generated the arguments in terms of threat to identity.

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Migration and the movement it entails have always accompanied civilization in every stage of its development. Historically people have moved from one place to another by force in terms of slavery, or for reasons of colonisation. Towards the late 19th and early 20th centuries, international migrations began to be prompted by industrialisation and urbanisation. A shift in base and settlement, prompted by varied reasons and sponsored by different agents, is thus not a new concept. Unlike the early migrations, which were largely directed towards the north and the west, migrations today cannot be understood in linear terms of fluid movements, within structural constraints and continuities, the movements being marked by turbulence and change, and undertaken in multiple directions (Behara: 2006).

In the contemporary context of globalisation, as has often been noted, the world is in a constant state of flux. People are presented with multiple worlds, images, things, persons, knowledge and information at the same time and at an everincreasing pace. Moreover, the life cycle of each of these has been drastically shortened, such that the world one encounter is perceived and consumed largely in temporary terms. Change, then, is the only constant and the changes that characterise this external world one in habit are internalised by them and have a significant impact on their lives and their perceptions about time and space. Individuals are forced in one way or another to respond to the larger forces operating on them since no one remains completely removed from the turmoil that surrounds them; the world having come closer, globalisation has facilitated the process of migration considering the forces of demand and supply, needs and gratifications, and the increased and easier possibility of movement and communication (Joseph: 1998).

In the process of movement, one undoubtedly leaves behind a familiar world to explore one's chances in an alien land. The process of migration may thus have a constraining effect not only in structural terms, of the choices made available, or cultural terms, but also in the sense in which it may include abuse, exploitation, and emotional and psychological distress (Chari and Chander: 2003). …

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