This course on Dynamics of Indian Diaspora: Migration, Adaptation and Overseas Indian Communities is designed to familiarize the participants with the socio-political and economic condition of strong 31 million Indian Diaspora living in different countries of the world. It will analyse the social-economic linkages with the Indian Diaspora and mother Country. It will help in understanding the issue of brain drain and brain gain in the era of globalisation. It will chart out the expectations of home nation from Diaspora and vice versa. In a nutshell, the course explores the knowledge gaps, conceptual challenges, and governance dilemmas of diaspora engagement with special reference to global Indian diasporas.



The concept ‘diaspora’, though originally of Jewish origin, it designates relatively stable and numerous transnational migrations and settlement of communities from variously conceived homelands. Demographically, the Indian Diaspora is the second largest in the world after Chinese Diaspora. Currently, the total number of overseas Indians is more than 31 million. They are spread in more than 110 countries, including US, Canada, UK, European countries, Australia, West Asian Countries, Southeast and Far Eastern countries. An interdisciplinary field of studies on Indian diaspora emerged in the 1990s. Prior to this, OCIs, Indian Emigrants, Immigrants, and Indians living Abroad was used in the diasporic literature. However, emigration from India is an old phenomenon. During colonial period, large group of Indians were recruited as indentured labour to work in other British, French, Dutch Colonies spread all over the Globe, notably in Africa, Caribbean and Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Indian National Movement was sympathetic to the plight of indentured labour. In the post independence period, Government of India was preoccupied with nation building and non-alignment and was disconnected from Indian diaspora. After independence there were several waves of migration, students going to the West for higher studies and professionals for better economic opportunities from a distinct group. Emigration to the Gulf countries started in the 1970s following the oil boom, constituting of mostly workers of both skilled and unskilled and some highly qualified professionals as well. The most recent wave of emigrants to the advanced industrialized countries consists of IT Professionals with a wide spectrum of IT skill sets beginning from data entry and software programmers to cutting edge technology leaders and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. In this backdrop, the course explores the history, concepts, diasporic linkages and theoretical approaches to the study of dynamics of Indian Diaspora: Migration, Adaptation and OCIs.



Session 1: Migration and Diaspora: Concepts and Theories

  • Transnationalism, Globalisation and Diaspora
  • Perspectives on Studying Indian Diaspora
  • Longing and Belonging: The ‘in-between’ State of Indian Diaspora
  • Conclusion


Session 2:  Approaches to the Study of Dynamics of Indian Diaspora

  • The Literary View Point
  • Demographic
  • Geographical Aspect
  • Anthropological Understanding
  • Cultural persistence: Case Study of East Indians in Trinidad
  • Socio-cultural Adaptation: Case Study of Tamils in Malaya Rubber Plantation
  • Transnational Analysis
  • Indian Diaspora and Multiculturalism
  • Conclusion


Session 3: Migration and Adaptation of Indians Abroad

  • Emigration: Volume and Destination
  • Colonial Background of Indian Emigration
  • Distress of the Small Peasantry
  • Famines
  • Decline of Handicraft Industry
  • Sluggish and Enclavist Industrialisation
  • Five Patterns of Indian Emigration
  • Conclusion


Session 4:  Indian Diaspora during Colonial Period

  • Historical Context of Indian Emigration
  • Abolition of Slavery
  • Politics of Humanitarian Consideration
  • Evolution of Indentured Labour Scheme
  • Sources of Cheap labour
  • Streamlining and Abuse of the System
  • Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Identity
  • Conclusion


Session 5:  Indian Diaspora in the Post-Colonial Period

  • Immigration Patterns to Britain, U.S.A, Canada
  • Government Policy
  • Type of Migration Flow
  • Process and patterns of Socio-Cultural Adaptation
  • The Phenomenon of Brain Drain
  • Conclusion

Session 6: Country Case Studies on Diaspora- Expectations of/from the Migrants

  • Indians in the Caribbean
  • Indian Diaspora in Africa
  • Indian Diaspora in South and South East Asia
  • Indian Diaspora in Europe
  • Indian Diaspora in North America
  • Indians in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji
  • Indian Diaspora in West Asia
  • Conclusion


Session 7: Socio-economic and cultural Linkages between Indian Diaspora

  • Linkages and Policies
  • Immigration and Emigration Policies and its Implication
  • Indian Governments Approach towards Diaspora
  • Indian Diaspora-Homeland Linkages
  • Indian Diaspora in the Cyberspace
  • Conclusion


Session 8: Indian Diaspora, Development and Global Image

  • Films
  • Indian Diasporic Writing
  • Popular Perception


Session 9: Identity, Nation State and Transnational Communities

  • Identity, Nub-National Identities and Diaspora
  • Globalisation, Nationalism and Transnational Communities


Session 10: Migration, Diaspora and Sustainable Development Goals: A Public Policy Perspective

  • Migration and SDGs
  • Migration and Diasporic Economy
  • Remittances Transfers and Development
  • Remittance and Financial Investment/Innovation/Inclusion
  • Indian Diaspora during COVID -19
    • Conclusion

Faculty Contact

Dr. Gadadhara Mohapatra