Nikhar Gaikwad |  | August 28, 2021



Research finds that nativism is not necessarily the reason politicians are not responsive to migrant concerns in India.

 India’s harsh Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 quickly turned into a migrant crisis, with millions taking to the roads to head back home instead of being stuck without wages or a job. The images, videos and stories that emerged at the time turned a spotlight on India’s massive population of internal migrants – and the difficult conditions in which they operate, whether in the form of labour exploitation, nativism from local populations, or difficulty in accessing public welfare.

One of the major questions emerging from this period was this: Why aren’t politicians more attentive to the needs of migrants? After all, nearly 35% of India’s urban residents are migrants. Yet migrants are often unable to vote in the places they have moved to, and are rarely considered relevant to politicians.

Why is that? And what can be done about it? These are the questions that Nikhar Gaikwad, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, and Gareth Nellis, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego, have sought to examine in much of their research.

Originally published by Scroll. in. Read the full interview here.