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Internal Migration

Challenges in Governance and Integration

Edited By Shane Joshua Barter and William Ascher

Internal Migration: Challenges in Governance and Integration focuses on the challenges associated with internal migration across the developing world. While international migration captures significant attention, less attention has been paid to those migrating within recognized national borders. The sources of internal migration are not fundamentally different from international migration, as migrants may be pushed by violence, disasters, state policies, or various opportunities. Although they do not cross international borders, they may still cross significant internal borders, with cultural differences and perceived state favoritism generating a potential for "sons of the soil" conflicts. As citizens, internal migrants are in theory to be provided legal protection by host states, however this is not always the case, and sometimes their own states represent the cause of their displacement. The chapters in this book explain how international organizations, host states, and host communities may navigate the many challenges associated with internal migration.

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5. Competing Mobilization of Tribal and Class Identity: Politics of Internal Migration in North India (Rumela Sen)


5. Competing Mobilization of Tribal and Class Identity: Politics of Internal Migration in North India

Rumela Sen

Columbia University

In November 2000, the southern part of the Indian state of Bihar was carved out to create the 28th state of the country, named Jharkhand. Although the state derives its name from the tribal1 separatist movement in the region, tribals comprise only 28 per cent of the state’s population. Half of the remaining 72 per cent include backward and other castes settled in the state for centuries, known as “moolvasis” (those who have grown roots in the region). The other half of the non-tribal population, about 35 per cent of the state population, was identified as “diku” meaning outsiders/exploiters. The region has a long history of grassroots tribal resistance to outsiders going back to the eighteenth century. The Jharkhand identity movement has historically blamed the dikus, comprising the non-tribal working class migrants seeking employment in the mines and factories in the region, as privileged outsiders looting their economy and corrupting their indigenous culture (Munda and Mullick 2003). After Indian independence, economic opportunities in the mines and factories in South Bihar prompted a sudden increase in voluntary non-tribal migration to these tribal dominated areas, which instigated hostilities, that are the focus of this paper.

Yet the historical antagonism between the tribal host community and the non-tribal migrants gave way to a new master cleavage based on class, which united migrant and tribal...

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