Migration and Its Impact on the Society and the Economy of North-East India

  • K. R. Dikshit
  • Jutta K. Dikshit
Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)


No other region of India has experienced such a huge, continuous and prolonged immigration as the North-East of India. Much of the brunt of this immigration is born by Assam, especially the Brahmaputra valley. There has been an equally intense immigration in Tripura during the last four decades, but Assam stands apart as a state, which has witnessed the severest impact of immigration from East Pakistan and subsequently Bangladesh. Starting from the recruitment of Bengali officials during the early years of British rule, continuing immigration as tea plantation workers and subsequently the peasants from Mymensingh looking for land to reclaim and settle in Assam – all have meant additional burden on the resources of the state. The population of immigrant Bangladeshi population has grown rapidly and has changed the demographic composition of the state. Today, in six districts of Assam, Muslims, with an inflated population because of illegal immigration from Bangladesh, form the majority religious group, and more districts are likely to turn into Muslim-majority districts. As a community, they have begun to exercise influence on the politics of the state. In the process of immigration, the Bangladeshi immigrants have suffered worst reprisals, but the immigration has continued unabated. The people of Assam perceive this illegal immigration as a threat to their economic security and cultural harmony. Another foreign immigrant group in Assam is that of Nepalis who are ubiquitous in all parts of the state but remain confined to service industry like transport and dairying.

The single most important factor that has contributed to this illegal mass exodus from Bangladesh to Assam is a steep population density gradient. While Bangladesh has a population density of over 1,000 persons to a km2, Assam’s density of population is less than 400 persons to a km2.

Tripura is another state in the North-East which has experienced huge influx of Hindu refugees and illegal migrants. The immigrant population was accommodated in the state compassionately, though occasional violent clashes did occur between the original indigenous population and immigrant population. Following the adoption of Bengali language as the language of the state and Hinduism as the faith of the royalty, the erstwhile kings and their subjects willingly absorbed the cultural influences from Bengali Hindu society. It was not difficult to assimilate the immigrants in their fold. Today, unlike in Assam, the immigrant Bengali community contributes greatly to the economic and cultural development of the state.


Immigrant Population Illegal Immigration Migration Stream Plantation Worker Displace Person 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. R. Dikshit
    • 1
  • Jutta K. Dikshit
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PunePuneIndia

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