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A Typical Sikh Family Stor-Movement Abroad


While earlier major migration from Doaba, Majha and Malwa regions of Punjab were due to economic and financial reasons due small land holdings and because these people had more exposure to overseas through Army and in the case of South East Asia via police recruitment. From Lachhman Singh’s family story, the main reasons for migration can be summarized as:

1. This immigration is post independence phenomenon and in fact post 1970’s phenomenon which accelerated in the 1980’s, 1990’s and is continuing to be so. With no children settled abroad, the grand children are almost equally split between India and in this case USA.

2. Earlier going abroad was for studies mainly higher education. Scholarships for graduate work (Assistantships and Fellowships) were easier to get while financial assistance for undergraduate work was difficult and rarely covered full expenses. The situation changed somewhat in later decades when Mini got almost full financial assistance for undergraduate work.

3. In 1960’s going overseas was at a more mature age (twenties) for higher education than at undergraduate level (teenage). The chances of returning were more in the former case when one was less vulnerable. It was also difficult to get immigration till liberalization of the mid 1960’s. USA appeared on the horizon as a more favorable destination than the UK because of financial support offered to overseas students.

4. Migration to Canada or UK was possible but US laws were more stringent up till mid 1960’s and even that to highly qualified persons. Relatives and dependents were allowed a bit later which opened the flood gates to exponential growth in immigration.

5. Marriage was another avenue for migration particularly for girls. In this family case, it just happened that the bridegroom was from overseas These marriages were to professionals and hence were not motivated by migration. In fact there were considerable doubts on getting married abroad. One positive factor of marrying abroad was expectation of better job satisfaction and husband-wife relationship equity (contra to experiences at lower income group or marriages to non professionals in Canada and UK).....

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