Migration of Mappila Muslims to the Persian Gulf: Economic Behaviour and Rural Change in Kerala, South India

Rajeevan Kunnath, Jawaharlal Nehru University

This paper examines the transformative role of emigration to the Persian Gulf Countries on the rural economic life of Malabar region, Kerala, South India. The study is done in the context of the large scale labour migration of Mappila Muslims to the Gulf countries. By considering this framework, it is central to understand that the migration-induced changes are the combined effects on the structural relationship between sending and receiving places. The study problematizes the general understanding on migration, which mainly projects the mobility of manpower and a way of material well-being, by disclosing the socio-economic background of migrant community. The findings suggest that the historical structure of Malabar and the Gulf plays a significant role behind the gradual change in the rural economy. Besides, migration led to the distorted development in society by breaking down of the traditional economy of Malabar and reinforcing remittance dependent development strategies.

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Presented in Session 159: Suburbanization, Exurbanization, and Rural Change