Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Geography & Environmental Studies

Program Name/Specialization

Human Geography

Faculty/School

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Crush

Advisor Role

Dr. Jonathan Crush

Abstract

In India, the crisis of migration tied to the entry, presence and assimilation of the so-called ‘irregular’, ‘illegal Bangladeshi migrants’ is now an undisputed reality, seemingly affecting all geographical areas located within the national territories in multiple adverse ways. A decidedly strident xenophobic rhetoric attaches the presence of such migrants in an indiscriminate fashion to unending anxieties and urgent problems, whilst constantly drawing attention to the inefficacies of immigration enforcement and deficiencies of (interior and exterior) borders controls. This dissertation addresses key moments in the making and deepening of this national crisis and its management by state authorities over the course of two and half decades. Through the critical assessment of some prominent governance strategies which unfolded during specific times and at particular geographical locations and scales, the study highlights the formation and intensification of this crisis and associated, corrective measures adopted by successive governments to fix it. Some of these important tactics discussed in this dissertation include: migrant detention and deportation, especially at privileged interior locations like New Delhi and its marginal, ‘Bangladeshi-prone’ spaces; adjustments to immigration and citizenship rules; dissolution of migrant assimilation through elimination of various fundamental rights, including birthright citizenship and access to dwindling state subsidies; building up of edifices with the aim of segregating unwanted non-citizens and heightened surveillance; along with the intensification of border controls through rising enforcement. The securitization and criminalization of such flows, it is shown, are its notable features and by implementing such schemes, these xenophobic tendencies are being amplified in particular ways. The pivotal function performed by the Hindu right-wing political forces and their anti-Muslim, xenophobic politics of Hindutva or Hindu majoritarianism in these processes is analysed. The study discusses the shadowy, threatening figures of the ‘irregular Bangladeshi migrants’, increasingly merging with residents and entrants of a particular religious faith, along with the intensifying precariousness of vulnerable residents targeted by such immigration and border controls.

Convocation Year

2019

Available for download on Thursday, January 27, 2022

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