RELUCTANT RETURNEES: Gender Perspectives on (Re) settlement Among Highly Skilled Indian Return Migrants in Bangalore
Industrial postdoc Helene Ilkjær contributed to the Nordic journal on Asia 'Asia in focus' with an article founded in her Ph.D.-thesis. She wrote the article 'RELUCTANT RETURNEES: Gender Perspectives on (Re) settlement Among Highly Skilled Indian Return Migrants in Bangalore'.
Taking its point of departure in the personal story of Nalini, the article examines highly skilled Indian women's experiences of moving back to India after years of working and living with their families abroad. Based on interviews with 47 individuals, the article thus takes the everyday experiences of (re)settlement among Indian returnees in Bangalore as an entry point to discuss this special issue’s themes of gender relations, family commitments, career opportunities, and social and cultural conservatism within the context of recent waves of return migration to Bangalore, a prominent hub in the imaginary of a "new" globalizing India.
The story of Nalini exemplifies the way in which highly skilled Indian migrants’ decisions to return – and their everyday experiences of post-return life in Bangalore – are multifaceted, encompassing aspects of both tradition and change, cosmopolitan and conservative influences. On the one hand, Indian patriarchal family and gender ideals continuingly influence returnees. On the other hand, by bringing back new ideas and practices returnees contribute to an ongoing process of change in family and gender relations in a globalising India. The case study of Nalini's experiences of return and (re)settlement in Bangalore points to ways in which female returnees to India overcome post-return restrictions to their careers and personal freedom, channeling the independence they have gained abroad in, at times, unexpected directions once back in India. The article thus contributes to shedding light on some of the gendered differences in highly skilled Indian migrants' experiences of return.
Helene Ilkjær, RELUCTANT RETURNEES: Gender Perspectives on (Re) settlement Among Highly Skilled Indian Return Migrants in Bangalore, Asia in Focus, special issue, 2016.