Published earlier this year by Orient Black Swan in India, “In Diasporic Lands: Tibetan Refugees and their Transformation since the Exodus” by Sudeep Basu studies the dynamics of Tibetan refugees’ emergent culture in the midst of their hosts, and in distinctly urban settings. Based on the author’s ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Darjeeling town, West Bengal, this volume looks at how places and identities are redefined and transformed by refugees negotiating their ‘belonging’ in an alien country over time.
Tibetan refugees in India grapple with notions of what Tibet as the homeland stands for, what it means to truly belong to the host territory and to acquire Indian citizenship. The ethnographic analysis, which reflects on Tibet’s past and the ‘exile present’, helps us to understand the ‘lived meanings’ that Tibetan refugees in Darjeeling attach to their life in exile and to the spaces they live and work in. It also shows how the experience of movement to and from a place alters the idea that people have of their relation to a specific place in the diaspora, and how this ‘sense of place’ adds meaning and purpose to refugee lives.
Read a review on Tibetan Journal here.
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