Nineth Lecture in the series on Migration at Patna Centre, TISS: Migrations and India's Future Development Trajectory


Date: April 8, 2017

Venue: SAP Building, History Department, Darbhanga House, Patna University

Jointly Organised by: History Department, Patna University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Patna Centre.

Speaker: Dr. Subir Sinha


This lecture speculates on certain likely medium-term trends and problems in Indian development, and derives from it possible trajectories of migration in India. The trends I shall consider are a) continued agrarian crisis in relation to all crops and livestock; b) climate instability and extreme weather events; c) civil war-like conditions in some parts of rural India; d) persistence of informal economy though with reduced degree of state support to the sector; and e) haphazard urbanisation. I will suggest that in addition to intensifying already existing dynamics of migration, some new issues will arise, such as the inability of informal work to absorb new migrants, the political victimisation of migrants, and inability of 'return to point of origin' in providing a cushion to migrants. I will close with suggesting some political and policy initiatives that might mitigate the condition of the migrants of the future.

About the Speaker

Subir Sinha teaches in the Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Hailing from Patna, Subir took his BA in History from Delhi University, and further degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University in the US. He has been a Fellow at the Institute of Agrarian Studies at Yale on University, and has taught at the Universities of Vermont and Turin. He has written extensively on civil society and social movements in India, the history of Indian planning, and, more recently, on the tensions between Marxism and postcolonial theory. He operates the twitter handle @pomogandhi in a personal and political capacity.

Lecture Series on Migration

We live in the ‘Age of Migration’. Though migration is an old phenomenon, actively promoted by the Colonial State, It was after the advent of liberalisation and integration of markets that migration has accelerated and diversified exponentially. This has made migration a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon. The lectures under the series would try to explore these complexities by looking into the relationship between migration and labour processes, globalisation and liberalisation, partition, ecology, gender, land and tenancy, urbanisation, state policies, violence, and social justice. A couple of lectures would also discuss folk literature as an epistemic source to understand migration.

TISS in Patna

The Centre for Development Practice and Research is a Patna-based centre of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The Centre has been established, with support from the Takshila Educational Society, with the objective to pursue research and publication, limited teaching and direct extension work in the community.

Presently, the Centre is engaged in research on migration, school education and caste-based practices. It has initiated a lecture series on Migration and conducted a seven-day orientation course on Migration. For details, visit: