Forced Migration of Muslims from Kerala to Gulf Countries
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In India, the literature on migration studies significantly captured the phenomena of emigration from Kerala to the Gulf countries. In Kerala, largest chunk of emigrant population is constituted by Muslims, but the existing literature put less focus on Muslims migratory pattern. With this outline, this chapter examines the forced nature of migratory pattern among the Muslims from Malappuram district, Kerala, to the Gulf countries. The findings from the fieldwork conducted among the Muslims shows that the factors that motivated the Muslim youth in Malappuram go beyond the reasons mentioned in the existing literature on migration from Kerala. The evidences from the village suggest that the socioeconomic situation that existed during 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and also the prevalence of poverty and unemployment level among the Kerala Muslims triggered them to emigrate to the Gulf countries, mainly to Saudi Arabia. Poverty, joblessness, availability of Umrah and free visa to Saudi Arabia, prevailing dowry system and the practice of luxurious marriage culture existed in the village. Coupled with one or more factors mentioned above, the dream and aspiration to work in the Gulf to enhance their standard of living motived them to emigrate. These suggest the forced nature of emigration from Malappuram to Gulf region.
KeywordsMuslims Kerala Gulf Forced migration
I thank Prof. Prem Saxena and Prof. S. Irudaya Rajan for their valuable comments and suggestions to develop this chapter. An older version of this chapter was also presented at the Annual meeting of Population Association of America in 2016 at Washington, DC, USA.
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