Publication of the Month: December 2015

by Claire Alexander, Joya Chatterji, and Annu Jalaisbengal_diaspora

Recent decades have witnessed the growth of a new interest, both scholarly and political, in migration and diaspora. This book focuses on three groups of Muslim Bengali migrants. One group had migrated across international borders after partition and settled in Britain; the second had crossed borders but had settled in the neighbouring nation state of East Pakistan/Bangladesh in South Asia itself; the third had crossed no borders but had been internally displaced within West Bengal in India, or within Bangladesh after it was formed in 1971.

Based on groundbreaking new research in India, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom, this is the first study to compare internal displacees with international migrants and refugees. The analysis pays attention to the vitally important inter-connections and interactions between the different groups. The authors offer a historical perspective, exploring different phases of migration and settlement, evolving legal frameworks and the shifting formations of ‘community’. They also use the life history approach to present the diverse voices and experiences of migrants. Finally, the book describes the hidden experiences of marginalised and silenced groups, such as women, refugees, ‘infiltrators’, illegal workers and brides. The combination of these historical, sociological and anthropological methods and materials result in an interdisciplinary approach to diaspora and migration, which makes this book a unique contribution to the field.

Alexander, C., Chatterji, J., & Jalais, A. The Bengal Diaspora: Muslim Migrants in Britain, India and Bangladesh (Routledge, 2015).

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