Why Immigration?

Today I read a very interesting article on immigration and its fall out, its implications, in a newspaper written by, Deepa Majumdar who teaches Philosophy, in Purdue University in the US.

Deepa did most of her school education in Shillong, and because of her everlasting attachment to this place, she writes frequently for the local newspaper: "The Shillong Times". In her articles she touches on various issues from personal memories of her childhood in Shillong, to sensitive ones such as ethnicity and inter community relationships in pluralistic cultures, multiplicity of cultures in an ethos etc.

People of a country who are themselves impoverished, will not understand or will refuse to understand the poverty of another country, no matter how close it is geographically or even culturally.
This particular issue drew my attention to some unassailable facts, given also the backdrop of the immigration issues in North East India. The immigrant she says, if my interpretation is correct, acts out of compulsion and survivalist measures. More often they do so, not aware of any 'reason' as such. Those, to whose country they come to as their adopted land, will not realize it, unless they understand what poverty and hunger are.

She cites the example of the US, which everyone knows, is a ground of migrants from all over the world. She again, gives the examples of poor Mexicans who have settled there, out of wants, and whose presence is looked askance at. But, the point is she claims, this want is neither understood nor felt by the people of that country, because they do not suffer from it, nor are impoverished, generally speaking.

Secondly she says, the immigrant in his or her adopted land must follow the rules of that land, and if he or she behaves as if in the manner of the country of origin, then obviously conflicts will arise. Hence behaviourial changes must take place, according to customary laws of the adopted land. This is a superb theoretical framework which she has built in response to a general situation on immigration.

Thirdly, she says that it is the business men of the country, who encourage immigration because the immigrants are cheap labour. And they have to be blamed for this if immigration is not a desirable process.

Now let us look at the situation in India. For example, if there is mass scale immigration from a particular country which is very poor then obviously the reasons are economic and that of survival. However, if this flow happens in a country which is also poor and underdeveloped then there will be obviously conflicts and tension. This is because the adopting country also has its problems of underdevelopment, poverty, want and hunger. This is why the issue of immigration of people from Bangladesh into India especially North East India which is a border state; brings in its wake social tensions which often get translated into ethnic tensions.

People of a country who are themselves impoverished, will not understand or will refuse to understand the poverty of another country, no matter how close it is geographically or even culturally. This dichotomy is obvious in places like North East India leading to the feeling of nationals from another country being unwanted.

Further, the moot question is, whether nationals who come to their adopted land are willing to assimilate cultures and also follow the laws of the land. If this does not happen then social tensions will only exacerbate. And this is exactly what is happening in North East India. It is not only the question of assimilation of cultures and accepting the laws of the land. It is the basic question of livelihood and economic competition, land being the major source of contention.


More by :  Ananya S Guha

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Views: 3435      Comments: 2

Comment I suggest we need to keep holistic view on entire immigration process. A person/group of people migrate because they have perception that their aspirations/dreams won't be achieved in their country. Host country takes them because they have perception that it will bring good to their country.

Rest is procedural and process which takes place and everything goes into it with acceptance of both parties. Conflict and dissentment starts for both parties when they have to loose something of theirs in the process.

02-Oct-2012 04:38 AM

Comment Two very valid points highlighted here.A poor or underdevoloped country cannot accept mass migration into their land and such migations bring conflict. The immigrants should accept laws and cultures of the land. In country like USA,every section of the migrant wants to live as if he is living in his/her own country.This also bring clash of interests and clash of living styles.Yes people who encourage migration for their personal ends are the biggest culprits. Well in business,commercial interest is over all other interests.

29-Sep-2012 13:20 PM

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