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The Marginal Nation: Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal

Ranabir Samaddar (Author)
Synopsis Throughout South Asia, questions of 'illegal immigration' combined with those of 'national security' have acquired politically explosive dimensions in recent years. Despite this, migration studies have remained, by and large, confined to the domains of economics and demography. Dealing with transborder migrations from Bangladesh to West Bengal, The Marginal Nation analyzes these issues within a richer perspective which accommodates the historical, cultural and geographic dimensions along with the economic and demographic. Written in an activist and interventionist mode, this book challenges the validity of the concept of the nation-state in the context of post-colonial South Asia. Ranabir Samaddar demystifies the constructs of 'borders' and 'national territory' by bringing to the fore the viewpoints of the migrants themselves. He questions the practical value of these terms by showing how the flow of people across the Indo-Bangladesh border is prompted by historical and social affinities, geographical contiguity, and the economic imperative. Pitted against the natural urge for survival, 'nation' and 'border' are easily marginalized in the minds of the people who then find 'illegal' ways to tackle this obstacle in the path of their well-being. The net result is that the very future of transplanted concepts such as 'nation-state', 'national security' and 'national borders' is in doubt in present-day South Asia. Based on hitherto unused data, reports and travels along the borders and to the migrants' hamlets, this book forcefully challenges the approach which privileges the 'nation' above other forms of community. Dr. Samaddar argues for a new methodology which will accommodate the logic of historical continuity as well as the rights of the people compelled by circumstance to be on the move. The first study of its kind in the subcontinent, the volume will be of interest to students and scholars in the fields of political science, sociology, history, human rights, demography and ethnic studies.
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About the author

Ranabir Samaddar

Ranabir Samaddar, Director of the Peace Studies Programme at the South Asian Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu, was formerly Professor of South Asian Studies, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata. He is the author of a three volume study of post-colonial nationalism in South Asia, Whose Asia is it Anyway: Nation and the Region in South Asia (1996), The Marginal Nation: Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal (1999) and A Biography of the Indian Nation, 1947-97 (2001), and of Memory, Identity, Power: Politics in the Jungle Mahals, 1890-1950 (1997), an account of the politics of community formation in the Jharkhand region.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Marginal Nation: Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1999
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170367441
length 228p., Tables; Map; 23cm.