Author: Sanjoy Hazarika
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0141004223
A passionate and incisive analysis of the troubled issue of migration in India's North East and Bangladesh. Revealing and wide-ranging, this work is critical of the lack of political vision and will of governments in both countries and points to specific steps to secure the future stability of the region.
The February 1983 massacre at Nellie, near Guwahati, expressed the deep-rooted fears of communities in Assam, that, over time, Bangladeshis entering India across its porous borders could swamp them. This was also the sentiment that underlay the student-led agitation of the 1980s to evict all illegal non-Indians in the area after deciding on a cut-off year.
In this study, senior journalist, analyst and filmmaker Sanjoy Hazarika examines what drives immigrants to even an underdeveloped country like India - a flow that no government can hope to stop. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork in Assam and Bangladesh, censuses and other statistical records, and people's narratives, Hazarika charts the paths of migration across chars, the number of entrants, and their destination in India and beyond. Distinguishing between environmental and political refugees, he identifies land hunger, population pressures and environmental factors in Bangladesh as the primary push factors responsible for this influx of migrants, apart from the attraction of greater economic security and the linguistic and ethnic diaspora in India.
While pleading for an understanding of the migrants' search for a better life, Hazarika argues against giving them rights to citizenship, given its far-reaching political implications. . Revealing and wide-ranging, this work is critical of the lack of political vision and will of governments in both countries and points to specific steps to secure the future stability of the region.