|Author: Anjanee|

By definition, migration is the movement by people from one place to another with the intention of settling temporarily or permanently in the new location (1).

Why do they migrate?

Individuals migrate because they think that they can improve their own lives or those of their families by doing so. Economic migration is triggered by the knowledge (or belief) that better economic opportunities exist in some other place (2).

As I visit more slums in Bangalore, I have a recurring question. Why do so many people migrate from the rural areas to urban areas? Why do these people feel that they have a better lifestyle in an urban slum than in their village? I mean I have seen a few villages, for example the village we visited together. Did it not feel like their life quality and living conditions were much better than those living in urban slums? You get a sense of community, equality and pride in your village. You have food to eat, water to drink and a roof to sleep under. You breathe cleaner air. Then why trade all this for being a slum dweller in the city?

Sure you end up making more money in the city, but then you end up spending more.

Maybe this is what progress means. As humans we always have a ladder we need to climb. It is not just the mindset of rural population. Many well-educated people living in Indian cities leave their white-collar jobs and businesses and move to the US to work in motels, gas stations, delis etc.

A 60-year old electrical engineer uncle of mine left his well-paying job in India to work as a receptionist at a motel in Virginia. Another uncle, who lived in a 5-bedroom bungalow in India, left everything to go live in a basement in New Jersey. There are many such stories around me.

They do it because they get to be in a richer country with more opportunities as compared to India. They do it because one dollar is equal to 70 Indian Rupees. But do they not consider the things they are giving up in order to earn the dollars? Is there really a need to earn the dollars, at the cost of your lifestyle, your family?

I do not have answers to my questions. I just have more questions.


2) Delia Davin, Why People Migrate,

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