A Quest for Social and Economic Wellbeing: An Odyssey of Illegal Migrant

Rosy Hastir, assistant professor
Ajoy Batta, Professor
Sukanya Das, Assistant Professor

Migration from Punjab across borders has become a global phenomenon. There is no doubt that large numbers of people live outside their country of origin and many more are continuously on the move to various developed countries for greater opportunities. But this move to the developed countries are legal or illegal way? How the dynamic process of migration influences the social and economic development of the migrants and how it further leads to the overall well-being of the migrant? In my research work I have elaborately sketched the biography of one illegal migrant. The life story of Balram reflects the hope, despair and suffering of one illegal migrant who crossed and re-crossed the borders of various countries on his various voyages. Finally, he managed to reach his country of destination but being an illegal migrant he encountered numerous difficulties, discrimination and struggle in the host country. The in-depth case study of Balram shaped by the historical tragedy in September 11, 2001, the terrorist attack in the United states of America. After the tragic event, he got arrested by asylum officers. That was the end of his all dreams and aspirations. Balram took the illegal route of migration to improve his social and economic situation. Interestingly the dynamic process of migration shaped his well-being. When he was imprisoned in USA, he has mentioned “the prison in America is better than my country, I would like to imprisoned here for lifetime rather than deporting back to India”. When Balram finally deported back to his home country in India, he was in severe depression and became alcoholic because he couldn’t handle his failure of migration. Thus, the pursuits of wellbeing sometimes found in the most awkward and unpredictable circumstances which apparently reflects in the life story of one illegal migrant.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 182. Social Mobilities