As I write the preface for this book, I am reminded of the time of establishment of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) Research Unit on International Migration (RUIM) at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in June 2006. Replicating the Kerala model of migration surveys to other states in India was one of the objectives of the research unit. I organized a workshop on migration surveys at CDS on 11–12 January, 2007, inviting senior scholars from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab. Along with Aswini Kumar Nanda and Jacques Veron, I prepared a research proposal to conduct the migration survey in Punjab with financial support from the National Institute of Demographic Studies, Paris, France and the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh.
The CDS’ interest in research collaboration with another ICSSR institute, namely CRRID, in conducting the Punjab Migration Survey was reinforced with the new project that CDS undertook with the European Commission (EC). The EC project on Transnationalisation, Migration and Transformation: Multi-Level Analysis of Migrant Transnationalism (TRANSNET) was funded by the 7th Framework Programme for Research with multidisciplinary teams participating from Africa, Asia and Europe. The project sites included the United Kingdom, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Morocco and Turkey.
In its first meeting held at the University of Tampere, Finland, under the leadership of Pirkko Pitkänen, coordinator of TRANSNET, we decided to focus on the Punjab–United Kingdom migration corridor. V. J. Varghese of CDS closely worked with Kaveri Qureshi of the University of Sussex, United Kingdom, for conducting collaborative research with its local coordinator, Filippo Osella.
When the project was launched, CDS organized a workshop on Transnationalisation, Migration and Transformation: Migrations from Punjab to UK on 6 April, 2009 at CRRID with support from Aswini Kumar Nanda. During the meeting, I felt the need to organize a larger meeting with researchers working on Punjabi migration and diaspora on one platform to share and reflect on their findings.
After discussions with the editors of this volume, we organized an International conference on Migrations, Mobility and Multiple Affiliations: Punjabis in a Transnational World partly funded by the MOIA and the EC, at CDS during 22–23 March, 2010.