Language, Nationhood, and Isolation in the Lives of Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India

Journal title MONDI MIGRANTI
Author/s Aarav Pranav Vaidya, Fr Joseph Chacko, Fr Joseph Chacko Chennattuserry , L T Om Prakash
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/1
Language English Pages 17 P. 81-97 File size 276 KB
DOI 10.3280/MM2023-001004
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Divisions and resentments between the Tamils and the Sinhalese, two major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, led to the exodus of Tamils to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu in India. From the beginning of the first major conflict in the early 1980s to the peak of the Eelam war in 2008-2009, it is estimated that over three millions lakh Sri Lankan Tamils have migrated to India, mostly to the southern state of Tamil Nadu. A majority of them were put in over 115 government-run refugee camps. These migrants preferred Tamil Nadu over other states in India for two major reasons: firstly, its proximity to the conflict area; secondly the common lin-guistic, cultural, and ethnic identities both the Sri Lankan Tamil migrants and the native Tamils share. The present paper is an attempt to understand the life of these refugees in Tamil Nadu, where they share many commonalities with the Tamil inhabitants. Earlier studies show that irrespective of these commonly shared identities between the migrant Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and the native Tam-ils, a process leading to the repatriation of the former is preferred over their integration and assimilation with the latter. The present study attempts to capture the process of ‘othering’ refugees although they share common linguistic and ethnic identities with the host community.

Keywords: refugees; Sri Lankan Tamils; othering; ethnicity; migration.

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Aarav Pranav Vaidya, Fr Joseph Chacko, Fr Joseph Chacko Chennattuserry , L T Om Prakash, Language, Nationhood, and Isolation in the Lives of Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India in "MONDI MIGRANTI" 1/2023, pp 81-97, DOI: 10.3280/MM2023-001004