People’s decisions to migrate in search of work are often discussed in terms of economic necessity, but these decisions are also shaped by a host of historical and cultural factors. In his new book Crossing the Border to India: Youth, Migration, and Masculinities in Nepal
(Temple University Press, 2018), Dr. Jeevan Sharma
sheds light on the migration decisions and experiences of young Nepali men from the western district of Palpa who migrate to India to take up jobs as security guards, domestic workers, or restaurant and hotel workers. These young men are not only seeking gainful employment, but also participating in a gendered rite of passage that allows them to enact culturally specific ideas of masculinity. Despite the fact that the long border between Nepal and India is technically open, Nepali labor migrants encounter various forms of structural violence in their border crossings and in their experiences of living and working in India. This book offers a valuable case study for people who are interested in the intersection of migration, labor, and gender, particularly in the context of South Asia.
Dannah Dennis is an anthropologist who studies citizenship, nationalism, and social media, primarily in Nepal. You can find her work at her website and her random musings on Twitter.