ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kuki Perspective on Migration

Wave Theory

Studies on migration patterns amongst tribes in India have received less attention in the academic domain. As such colonial writings still remain the basis of explaining the migration of tribes in North East India, with the veracity of their arguments remaining unascertained. The Kukis’s unique pattern of migration is described and the formulation of a “wave model” to describe all migration taking place in a similar pattern is attempted.

Migration is the temporary or permanent movement of individuals or groups of people from one geographical location to another for various reasons. The basic factors that have influenced the mobility of people from one region to another have been the uneven distribution of population, unbalanced utilisation of resources, and variation in economic and cultural developments. Besides these, natural disasters, lack of employment opportunities, financial crises, influence of family members, availability of jobs, and easy access to the city’s informal economy are few specific factors that induce migration (Ishtiaque and Ullah 2013).

Academic works available on the subject, however, largely focus on the economic and security factors that are a product of industrial and commercial activities. Therefore, literature available on migration patterns of tribes in the ancient past is scant. Lee (1966) proposed a theory where migration takes place as a result of positive and negative factors. While positive factors are the circumstances that act to hold people within an area, or attract people from other areas, negative factors tend to repel them. Duncan (1940) and Standing (1981) also propounded theories on migration. While Duncan emphasised social, economic, personal, and natural factors, Standing has claimed that the size and level of migration are determined by the relation of production of society, nature of wealth, landownership system, and factors controlling the growth of forces of production in a society. However, the application of these generalised theories in the explanation of migration patterns of a community taking place in the ancient past is inadequate and subjective. Therefore, while the accounts of colonial authorities on the people inhabiting the north-eastern region of India still remain the basis of any study on migration in the region, there have been no investigations into the authenticity and validity of colonial writings on migration.

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Updated On : 12th Jul, 2019
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