Can you be an outsider in our own country? Article 19 (1) (d) of the Indian Constitution guarantees each Indian citizen ‘the right to move freely throughout the territory of India’. Does the idea of a single citizenship attached to the federal republic of India allow an equal claim over the cultural and natural resources of the country? It might be that our fundamental right to move, work, and reside across the country has been misunderstood, licensing exploitation and a new form of dominion over the most vulnerable parts of the country.
We will examine and critique this fundamental right. With Nandita Haksar and Frederick Noronha this #mondayfixgoa
Nandita Haksar is an ultimate insider: upper caste, upper class and privileged in every sense except that she is a woman in a patriarchal society. Perhaps that is what helps her see oppression of others.
She was brought up to believe all Indian citizens are one; political and culturally united and the differences are not very serious. It was impolite to talk about differences, especially religious differences.
Her study of Jharkhand movement and engagement as a lawyer with the problems there was when she became acquainted with the word “diku” the outsider as exploiter, especially in tribal areas. That is why she did not recoil at being called a “mayang” in North East. It did not seem like a personal attack, just a description of outsiders who had come as exploiters: the armed forces, the traders but not the missionaries.
The first case she helped in was of pavement dwellers: migrant workers called outsiders and told to quit. But the class was more apparent than the outsider at the time.
Then came the outsider movement in Assam; the outsider was a foreigner. An illegal migrant from Bangladesh; also Chakma and the Nepali. In case of Chakma, victims of the dam being built – when does an outsider, a refugee become a citizen?
In Goa: the tourist as an outsider. Aparthied with areas marked for white foreigners. Indians and Goans not welcome.
Then came the migrant crisis and the whole question of NE migrants in Goa arose.
So what is responsibility of the host state to the migrant workers. How can a citizen be a guest worker or an outsider? And so where does that leave the Indian? Is an Indian an outsider in India?
Nandita Haksar is a Human Rights lawyer, teacher, campaigner and writer. She was awarded a degree of LL.D. (Honoris Causa) from NALSAR in 2015 in recognition of her work in the field of human rights.
Frederick Noronha is a journalist based in Saligão in the Bardez taluka of Goa. He is active in cyberspace and involved with e-ventures involving Goa, developmental concerns and free software. He is the co-founder of BytesForAll. He is the founder of the alternate publishing house, Goa 1556.
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