Who is a Citizen?
Mohammad Imtiyaz
THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF REFUGEES IN INDIA by S. Irudaya Rajan Routledge India, 2022, 872 pp., ₹ 3495.00
February 2023, volume 47, No 2

Stateless were we branded and stigmatized…as outcaste vagabonds at the bottom we remain, with shattered and bleeding hearts we leave, like dumbed cattle benumbed we go (p. 247). The apathy and difficulties in the lives of refugees and stateless people are innumerable, and there will never be enough words to describe their predicament’s severity adequately. Since its inception in 1947, the postcolonial state was immediately plunged into instability as a result of the influx of refugees following Partition. Over the previous seven decades, India’s attitude toward refugees has shifted dramatically from that of a welcoming host to that of an increasingly wary observer. The Routledge Handbook of Refugees in India is an attempt to holistically capture the issues and crises faced by refugees in India. The volume expatiates the last seven decades’ trajectory for Jewish, Tibetan, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Afghan and Rohingya refugees in India. It examines contested issues like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as well as the gendered dimensions of the refugee problem. It analyses the policies to protect refugees and asylum seekers which have been exceptional sometimes and remarkably callous and caring at others.

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