The Diaspora Within: Himalayan Youth, Education-Driven Migration, and Future Aspirations in India

Author : Sara H Smith, Mabel Gergan | 2015
Published By: Sage Journals

Economic change has driven parents across the Indian Himalayan Region to send their children to major Indian cities for higher education. Himalayan students' urban experience and understanding of the nation is profoundly shaped by the movement between the Himalayan context and the foreign experience of Indian city life. We draw on interviews with students to discuss their experiences in the sometimes liberating and sometimes hostile cities of India. In their perceived cultural and racialized difference, we argue, Himalayan students form a diaspora within their own nation, and we suggest that attention to their micropractices of belonging and movement between home and city is critical to understanding India as a nation-state. Here, we suggest that education-driven migration to urban centers results in challenging spaces of encounter, and that minority students cope with these encounters both by forging diasporic ties with those from their homeland and other marginalized Himalayan students, and by building a cosmopolitan sensibility that reaches beyond India's borders. Our research is based primarily on a set of twenty interviews conducted in 2011 in Delhi, Sikkim, and Leh, Ladakh, but is informed by our ongoing work on the topic, and on our previous and continuing research on family politics in Ladakh and in Sikkim on youth politics and development.

URL : http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1068/d13152p

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