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Reverse Migration: Delhi


By RK Rishikesh Sinha

You can frame this question in one of many news. What has gone wrong in a decade or so, faces know to you are leaving a city like Delhi and going back to their home? Those faces who were around once are no more in your vicinity. Some have left, and some are planning to go back. There are many reasons to their going back; one thing that is certain: Delhi cannot be a home.


The beginning of 21st century saw people from all across the country coming to Delhi, some for job and some for education. It saw one of the major internal migrations in India, those fat salary, carefree life has failed them to make foot in the capital city for long. If you are not thinking, you can be the next. Though sooner or later.

A case in point, a friend of mine who worked for half a decade in the major international call centres in Gurgaon and Noida; in 2010 decided to go back to Guwahati. Today, he has his own call centre in Guwahati. He visited this New Year in Delhi to take his leftover belongings.

Another friend of mine, who made a quick money in Delhi and was able to grab a piece of land, has to sell now to go back to his hometown in Manipur. While some try their hand to earn quick money by taking personal loan, and for permanently leaving the city. A big FRAUD!

In one corner of my mind, I do wonder, why they are leaving now, few years back they never thought that one day they would be leaving.

Is it because of home-sick tendency? Yes, there is high tendency among Northeasterners to feel home-sick in a new city, away from their near and dear ones.  You close your doors, you are in your own.

Future seems bleak! You came, you earned. Now what? Your earning fails to meet your expenses. Oh future! Your heart says, there is no future in Delhi. The way the salary is moving, it is like bottled oxygen to your life.

No demand of skill: Once upon a time, there was a huge demand for my skill, but there is no more. Blame the government policies, technological shift, or something went wrong, that I am no more saleable in market.

Urban culture? Is it because of the urban culture that disturbs them to their vein and they ultimately decide to go back.  Northeasterners who usually come from a cocooned, everybody-know-everyone  culture, find themselves alien to the newly adopted urban culture. You are seen and taken as a different bunch of people, neither rich nor smart like Biharis and UPites.  When you discover, you are nowhere in these extremes, you decide to leave forever.

In between, a landlord told me once, “Wealth created in Delhi has always remained in Delhi”. Well, he didn’t tell me to go through the history of Delhi. Indeed, the history of Delhi supports it.

What Delhi holds in your life: a sojourn or a destination?

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