Punjab Journal: Return Immigrants

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by Diditi Mitra

Our own histories of being (im)migrants, from one big city to another as well as from a small town to a big city, within nations and across national boundaries made us seek out those who understood what these journeys are like. Our own journeys took us back to return immigrants–those who had left their villages in the Punjab and made journeys that sounded impossible, and were now back.

Meeting Return Migrants in Jalandhar (Photo by Vyoma Gupta)

Meeting Return Immigrants in Jalandhar (Photo by Vyoma Gupta)

In their village in Punjab, the returnees had reunited with their families. Perhaps that was something to celebrate. But, they had also left behind friends and relatives whom they had not seen in quite some time. We had brought back to them a piece of themselves — that’s what it felt like to hang with the immigrants who had returned back to Punjab from the United States. Some of them had lived in the States for as long as two decades. With us, had traveled stories of the land to which they were still connected, emotionally as well as through family members.

These histories of immigration also bound all of us together. All of us understood what it meant to have homes, and yet be homeless at the same time. Our gender differences did not seem to matter. They were all male and we were female. They were mostly from farming backgrounds and we were upper-middle class city people. In that experience of having immigrated though, we were connected. We were connected in our experience of being in-between homes.

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(Go herefor the first post in the series)