Home » Social Movements » Nativist Movement

Nativist Movement

According to Katzenstein nativism is distinct from movements of ethnic, linguistic or regional sub nationalism and is specifically anti-migrant. Sub-national movements such as in India the Akali Dal or DMK may contain nativist elements similarly the mobilization of anti-migrant sentiment may rely on ethnic, linguistic or regional loyalties.

According to Myron Weiner nativism is one form of ethnic politics. Nativism is that form of ethnic identity that seeks to exclude those who are not members of the local or indigenous ethnic groups from residing and or working in a territory because they are not native to the country or region, nativism is anti migrant.

Nativist movements are not of recent origin, there were a few such movements before independence. For instance the movement against the non mulki developed in Hyderabad soon after World War I when the local educated population expressed its opposition to the government policy of recruiting Muslims from northern India into the state administrative services. Similarly the anti-Bengali movement in Assam protested against the domination of their educational and administrative services by Bengali Hindus.

In post independence India the widely known movements are the Telengana Nativist movement and the Assam movement. The Telengana movement started in 1969.Initially the agitation was aimed at the continuance of Telengana safeguards and mulki rules formulated at the time of the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956.At a later stage, it demanded separation of the region from the rest of Andhra Pradesh which is still continuing to this day.

The Assam movement began in 1978.Its main demands included the detection, deportation and deletion of foreigner's names from electoral rolls. The movement aimed at the ouster of the Bengali middle class which enjoyed a major share in government jobs. Similarly during the late 1960s the Kannada Chaluvaligar demanded restrictions against Tamil, Malayali and Telugu migrants to Bangalore and preference for the local Kannada speaking population.

The underlying reason for the issue of nativism is competition for government jobs between natives and migrants. The cities and regions where nativist movements took place have the following characteristics The locale contains a substantial number of middle class migrants belonging to culturally distinguishable ethnic groups originating from another section of the country.

There is a native middle class expanding under the impetus of a growth in secondary and higher education. There is highly competitive labour market in which the native middle class seeks employment in private and public sector firms and in government, where middle class positions are already held by migrants or their descendents.