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Beyond Partition Annual Conference Schedule 2022

‘Citizenship and Migration in South Asia: Looking Beyond Partition’

10-11 June 2022

As the British left the subcontinent, there were many groups whose futures were left uncertain. As the nation states of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, along with other states in South East Asia and East Africa unveiled their citizenship laws it became clear that a significant section of diasporic communities would remain stateless or face precarity in their battle for belonging. In addition to this there were scattered groups of refugees and migrants across the subcontinent whose fate had yet to be decided in this period. As these citizenship debates unfolded the legal definitions of citizenship in the subcontinent collided with the lived reality of the lives of migrant communities, refugees and the diaspora. The result of this tumultuous process was the creation of multiple accommodations and exclusions as the countries of the subcontinent sought to define territorial and extra territorial forms of citizenship while still untangling the colonial legacy of the past. This workshop seeks to bring together those who are working on questions of mobility, migration and citizenship, broadly understood, beyond the Partition narrative in the subcontinent. We look at these narratives within the broader realm of the Indian Ocean where these debates result in expulsions and dialogue with the imperial metropolis on questions of citizenship. We will be looking at borders and borderlands in South Asia and those who cross them. Our panels will look at migrants in urban areas of Northern India, as well as contested border regions. Finally, we will look at how current citizenship debates has framed questions of belonging in the North East of India


Antara Datta (RHUL)

Kalathmika Natarajan (Exeter)

This conference is taking place online. To register for this, please click here.

The Working Group comprises the following members: Dr Haimanti Roy (University of Dayton, Ohio), Dr Uditi Sen (University of Nottingham), Dr Jayita Sarkar (University of Glasgow), Dr Kalathmika Natarajan (University of Exeter), Dr Ketaki Pant (University of Southern California), Sahana Ghosh (National University of Singapore), Antara Datta (Royal Holloway, University of London).

Day 1: 10th June

Panel 1: Non Partition Refugees in South Asia

9:30-11:30 am BST

Chair: Dr Yasmin Khan (University of Oxford)

Uditi Sen (University of Nottingham)

The Home that Never Was: Decolonisation and Anglo Indian Migration to the Andaman Islands

Jayita Sarkar (University of Glasgow/University of Edinburgh)

Battlefields to Borderlands: Rohingyas and Decolonization, 1940s–1950s

Antara Datta (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Negotiating Precarity- Uyghur and Kazakh refugees in postcolonial South Asia

Ankit Kawade (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Transnational Migration and the Idea of the Comparative Minority in Ambedkar’s Political Thought

Panel 2: Borders and Borderlanders

12:00-2:00 pm BST

Chair: Dr Haimanti Roy (University of Dayton, Ohio)

Shalini Punjabi (Independent scholar)

Shifting homes and identities: dislocations along India’s Western front

Nandini Rawat (Delhi University)

How to Build a Hindu: A Case Study of Pahari Migrants in Delhi

Dipti Tamang (Cornell University)

Citizenship, Longing and Belonging amongst the Indian Nepali/Gorkhas of Darjeeling Himalayas.

Panel 3: South Asia Beyond Borders

3:00-5:00 pm BST

Chair: Dr Sana Aiyar (MIT)

Jinal Parekh (Independent Scholar)

A small minority caught by the circumstances of history’: Post-Imperial Britain and the Kenyan Asian Conundrum 

Mira Burmeister-Rudolph (University of Amsterdam)

Ambiguous citizenship and the politics of informal representation: Indian charity organizations’ mediation between low-wage labour migrants and migrant origin states in the Gulf countries

Shenila Khoja-Moolji (Bowdoin College)

Culinary Placemaking: Diasporic Indian Muslim women’s cookbooks and the sensory memory of food

Kalathmika Natarajan (University of Exeter)

Caste, Race and Diplomacy: Mediating Indian Immigrants in Postwar Britain

Day 2: 11th June 2022

Panel 4: NRC, CAA and redefining citizenship in the North East

9:30-11:30 am BST

Chair: Dr Sahana Ghosh (NUS)

Anindita Chakrabarty (Mahindra University)

Migration Studies and the Convention of a ‘Partition Framework’: Questioning Historicising

Salah Punathil (University of Hyderabad)

National Borders among Families: Precarious Citizenship and Removal in India

Debasreeta Deb (University of Otago)

Uprooted and Erased: Unearthing the Perils of Citizenship of the Bengalis in Assam’s National Register of Citizens

Suraj Gogoi (Independent scholar)

Family as the Political: Emerging Citizenship Regimes in India

Panel 5: Cities, localities and migrant encounters

12:00-2:00 pm BST

Chair: Dr Anish Vanaik (Purdue University)

Asaf Ali Lone (CPR, New Delhi)

 Repartitioning identities and urban spaces: (Un)Bordering Muslim Identity in India.

Zoha Waseem (Warwick)

“It’s like crossing a border everyday”: Police-migrant encounters in a postcolonial city

Rohail Salman (George Washington University)

Land, Property, and Belonging: State practices and Evacuee Property management in Pakistan, 1947-1958

Panel 6: Postcolonial partitions and borders

3:00-5:00 BST

Chair: Dr Sarah Ansari (Royal Holloway)

Ahona Panda (Claremont Mckenna College)

The Politics of Language: Popular Sovereignty and the Language Movement in East Pakistan

Ilyas Chattha (LUMS)

Citizen Internees: Bengali Servicemen in Pakistan, 1971-1974

Chakraverti Mahajan (Queen’s University, Belfast/University of Delhi)

Territorial Marginality, Multiple Displacements and Militarized Lives: Notes from the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir

Danny Shanahan (University of Cambridge)

Internal borderlands and the manufacture of consent in contemporary fiction about Kashmir

CFP- Citizenship and Migration in South Asia: Looking Beyond Partition

The Working Group on Migration and Citizenship Beyond Partition based out of the Centre for Global South Asia at Royal Holloway and funded by the Humanities and Arts Research Institute, Royal Holloway, is hosting an all day-conference on ‘Citizenship and Migration in South Asia: Looking Beyond Partition’ on the 10th June 2022 at Royal Holloway in Egham.  The conference will be held both in person and virtually to enable academics from across the world to access it.

The conference seeks to bring together academics across disciplines who study discourses around citizenship, belonging and migration both before and after 1947 in South Asia, beyond the lens of Partition. In the aftermath of the Partition of 1947 and the process of decolonisation in South Asia, the mass migration of people across the borders of South Asia resulted in a reconsideration of the link between territoriality and belonging. With the emergence of new states in South Asia, first in 1947/48 and then subsequently in 1971, these questions around belonging and citizenship continued to resonate for several decades after Partition. The existing literature on migration, mobility and citizenship in this period focusses largely on the events of Partition and the migration between India and Pakistan. This conference would like to move away from Partition based histories and analyses of this period to consider other mobilities and migrations in the aftermath of decolonisation, and to uncover the evolution of citizenship in the subcontinent and beyond that goes beyond the narrow lens of Partition. We welcome papers that look at other migrations in the subcontinent, as well as those in the diaspora.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words to the Beyond Partition Working Group by the 25th April 2022.

The Beyond Partition Working Group comprises Dr Antara Datta, Dr Kalathmika Natarajan, Dr Haimanti Roy, Dr Sahana Ghosh, Dr Ketaki Pant, Dr Jayita Sarkar and Dr Uditi Sen.

About Us

The Beyond Partition Working Group comprises Dr Antara Datta, Dr Kalathmika Natarajan, Dr Haimanti Roy, Dr Sahana Ghosh, Dr Ketaki Pant, Dr Jayita Sarkar and Dr Uditi Sen.

We are a group of academics based in the UK, US, and Singapore who work on migration, mobility, and decolonisation in South Asia beyond the lens of Partition. As part of our Working Group, we have a reading group, writing retreats, conferences, and a final workshop.

This website is currently a work in progress: you will soon find some links to our work and details about what we have been up to. The project is hosted at the Centre for Global South Asia at Royal Holloway, University of London and funded by the Humanities and Arts Research Institute, Royal Holloway.

If you want to know more, please email us at