Mahanirban Calcutta Research group


Published Research Papers from crg


Research Papers on 2016 Next Year            Previous Years Research Papers on 2014




Policies and Practices 73

Cities, Rural Migrants and the Urban Poor-II : Migration and the Urban Question in

Manish Kumar Jha  and Pushpendra Kumar Singh: Based on empirical work in Mumbai, this essay makes inquiry into experiences of homelessness of the migrants. The authors attempt to locate the experiences of the migrant homeless people in the larger processes of a neo-liberal envisioning of Mumbai as the global city, the ever-growing informalization of labour, and displacement and inadequate resettlement, resulting in restricted access to affordable housing, services, work spaces and social welfare.  

Mouleshri Vyas: In this essay, the author speaks of how the anti-migrant political environment in Mumbai has created a confused socio-political and economic environment where the migrant worker is essential to manufacturing and service provision, and able to find work, while being unwelcome in terms of occupying physical, social, political and cultural spaces in the city.  

Ritambhara Hebbar and Mahuya Bandyopadhyay: This essay explores the lives of migrants who serve as security guards or protectors to a city which is known for its politics of violence against them. In exploring the organization and experience of security work in the city through these aspects, the authors attempt to challenge and move beyond the linear and descriptive understanding of the precarity of migrant labour, the fixity often assigned to the category of ‘migrant’, and the simplistic understanding of security.  

Simpreet Singh: This essay focuses on the construction of the categorial figure of the migrant in Mumbai in official discourses and common parlance. The author shows that the process of migration was facilitated and encouraged by the colonial rulers and has continued after India’s Independence in 1947, the difference being in the shifts in understanding of the term ‘migrant’ over the years.


Essays by Manish Kumar Jha & Pushpendra Kumar Singh, Mouleshri Vyas, Ritambhara Hebbar & Mahuya Bandyopadhyay, Simpreet Singh



Policies and Practices 72

Cities, Rural Migrants and the Urban Poor-I : Migration and the Urban Question in Kolkata

Kaustubh Mani Sengupta: Sengupta’s paper explores the intertwined histories of rehabilitation of the refugees from East Pakistan and the development of the city of Calcutta in the initial decades after the partition of British India.

Iman Kumar Mitra: Mitra’s paper studies the manifold connections between rural-to-urban migration and urbanization in Kolkata in contemporary times with references to the making and unmaking of the category of migrant in the official discourses on their settlement practices.   

Debarati Bagchi: Bagchi’s paper tracks the life and work of female waste pickers in contemporary Kolkata and how their migrant identity is predicated on the nature of their dwelling practices in the streets of the city.


Essays by Kaustubh Mani Sengupta, Iman Kumar Mitra & Debarati Bagchi



Policies and Practices 71

Rohingyas in India: Birth of a Stateless Community

Suchismita Majumder: Her paper is based on a large number of narratives collected from Rohingya refugees incarcerated in the correctional homes of West Bengal, India. As her research demonstrates, not only are these desperate people plagued by hostile situation in their own country, but often end up staying on in prisons even after serving their terms. Her paper richly documents how the lapses of an existing protocol for these refugees meant that the authorities often put them behind bars in spite of carrying UNHCR identity cards.


Priyanca Mathur Velath and Kriti Chopra: This paper explores the status of refugees in India in the absence of a standard protocol, with specific reference to the Rohingya refugees sheltered in various settlements in Hyderabad. The paper details the lack of entitlements and travails in the lives of the refugees who are have a hard time leading normal lives even after escaping the violence in their native Arakan.

Madhura Chakraborty: This paper looks at the shared colonial past of Myanmar, Bangladesh and India and examines the statelessness of the Rohingyas in this context as well as the current post 9/11 regime of securitisation that fuels Islamophobia and directly affects these asylum seekers.

Essays by Suchismita Majumder, Priyanca Mathur Velath and Kriti Chopra, Madhura Chakraborty



Policies and Practices 70

Labour, Law and Forced Migration

The papers in this edition are concerned with the investigation of the power of state and the evolution of legal system with respect to forced migration and the very definition of refugee and asylum. In the first paper, Anita Sengupta presents a detailed empirical account of how there has been a toughening of law and politics in Kazakhstan and Russia as a result of migration. The question and notions of borders are also questioned in the article. In second article, Simon Behrman gives a comprehensive account of the complex historical journey of the legal definitions of refugee and asylum in international law. Interestingly, it also brings out the contradictions between “Christian hospitality and law.”

Essays by Anita Sengupta & Simon Behrman



Policies and Practices 69

Policing a Riot-torn City: Kolkata, 16-18 August 1946


Essay by Ranabir Samaddar



Policies and Practices 68

West Bengal-Bangladesh Borders: Humanitarian Issues

Atig Ghosh: Ghosh’s paper explores the lives and livelihood practices of de-facto stateless people in chhitmahals or enclaves along the border of India and Bangladesh.  

Sucharita Sengupta: Sengupta’s paper looked at the experiences of Bangladeshi women in Indian prisons arrested on the charge of cross-border migration without necessary documents.  

Paula Banerjee: Banerjee’s paper studied different forms of violence as an endemic attribute of border existence with specific focus on the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Essays by Atig Ghosh, Sucharita Sengupta, Paula Banerjee