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British Indians & Indian Americans. Drawing parallels between second generation return migrants to India in their motivations to return

18th October 2012 3pm, University of Southampton 58/4121

Priya Khambhaita, University of Southampton

UK emigration has received relatively little consideration when compared to the amount of research conducted on immigration (Sriskandarajah and Drew 2006). This paper is an evaluation of existing literature on second generation American and British Indians in terms of how youth and childhood experiences fare in narratives of motivations to return to India. How might narratives of motivation for British Indians relate to their Indian American counterparts? What parallels can be drawn from the youth and childhood experiences of British Indians and the experiences of American Indians in their narratives of motivations to return? Academic discussion of second generation Indians in America is in the early stages. However, this is the first paper to highlight second generation return migration amongst Indians in the British context and offer some indication on how return American and British Indians might correlate. Many of the experiences American Indians draw upon when making sense of their motivations for returning to India are also experienced by British Indians. These include being involved with Indian cultural activities from childhood and having a greater interaction during early adulthood with people from the same cultural background. There are also differences however between the two groups. These relate to a lack of direct familial links that East African British Indians have to India as a result of being thrice migrants. In light of this, the paper highlights an important need for further empirical research on British Indian second generation returnees, especially when considering the complexity of relations with India amongst thrice migrants.

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