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Twice Versus Direct Migrants: East African Sikh Settlers in Britain


This paper has three main aims:first, it attempts to document salient features of a settler population of the twice migrant East African Sikhs,whose orientations and patterns of settlement, are different from that of the directly migrant groups who constitute the majority South Asian population in Britain. It analyses the major features of the organisation of the community, namely community values, its structure, economic organisation, the influence of a strong communications network, the consequences of the lack of a"myth of return" "and so on to formulate a picture of the field of social relationships in Britain.

Secondly, it examines the relationship of caste and class, both prior to the Indian army action at the Golden Temple in June 1984 and after the 1984 which outraged the Sikhs internationally, to show that these axis of social organisation were, and still remain,critical to the formation of the intra-group identities of the direct and twice migrants. These are defined not only as a result of the increased contact of of the latter with the former on the British scene,but also in accordance with the perceptions of the white indigenous British,who are not familiar with finer internal differences.

Thirdly, it explores the post-1984 phase which has seen developments that are different from the Pre-1984, and which led to the formation of a more inclusive and more "universal" Sikh identity, regardless of caste and class differences, and experiences of migration.

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