Migrants enrich culture, remain unsung: panel

Kolkata, Jan 15 (IBNS): Millions who migrate worldwide and shape the society and different cultures are often cast as outsiders who grapple to define their identities and assert their  place in the community, feel speakers at a panel discussion here on migrations and identifies.

[ReviewAZON asin=”0205841740″ display=”inlinepost”]The panel discussion tracking the movement of people across borders and its influence in shaping cultures was organised on Friday at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre.

Titled ‘Migrations, Connections and Identities’, the discourse was part of the of the three-day Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2011 which began on Friday.

Internationally acclaimed poet, playwright and activist Shailja Patel and Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University Sugata Bose shared their views in the session moderated by New York University professor Minu Tharoor.

The session touched upon sensitive topics which ranged from European colonialism and its capricious outlook on its colonies, to the travels and experiences of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

Patel performed a riveting prelude from her 90-minute-spoken word-theatre show Migritude that unfolded the stifled history of textile workers in India and East Africa.

She talked about a forced invisibility thrust upon the migrants in many countries even today, denying them acknowledgement as an integral part of the land’s society and culture.

Bose iterated the travels of Tagore to places like Burma, Africa and the Middle East and shared anecdotes from the poet’s encounters and experiences.

He spoke of ‘circular migration’, where people who left their homes, eventually made attempts or instigated a return to their homeland enriching the cultures of both the countries.

The panellists spoke on the millions who have migrated and have significantly shaped society yet have often been cast as outsiders who grapple to define their identities and assert their  place in the community.

The lasting impact of the movements across the Indian subcontinent and beyond in the wake of colonialism was explored through varied mediums like poetry and historical mapping.

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