You are here

Book Talks @ WRI Engage | India Moving: How Migration shapes India's Economy and Society

WRI India is delighted to launch a new series of virtual Book Talks that engage with timely and compelling new books, and discuss their implications for policy and action.

Please join us for a discussion between Prof Chinmay Tumbe, author of India Moving: A History of Migration, and Dr. Shahana Chattaraj and Deepti Raj from WRI India, followed by an audience Q and A.

Here is a recording of the event:

In India Moving, Dr Tumbe examines how millions of people have moved from, to and within India across the centuries. This expansive and ground-breaking book provide insights into topics like the slave trade and migration of plantation workers, migrant business communities and diasporas, mass displacement during India’s partition, and the roots of contemporary migration in India. Dr Tumbe shows that spatial mobility within the subcontinent is not a rare or recent phenomenon, and argues that migration in India is closely bound to the ‘circulation’ of people and capital. Noting that different groups and communities in India have different patterns and levels of spatial mobility, he makes a case for expanding opportunities for mobility and movement to maintain India’s pluralistic traditions.

Shahana and Deepti’s conversation with Dr Tumbe will explore the following questions:

  • Does the lens of migration/ circulation change how we think of rural-urban divides and linkages in India?
  • How do historical and contemporary patterns of migration and urbanization in India compare with global experiences?
  • Under what conditions does migration offer prospects for economic and social mobility?
  • And how can Indian cities, and state policy, work better for migrants, particularly those from disadvantaged groups ?


Chinmay Tumbe loves to laugh and learn. He is a faculty member in the Economics Area of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and was the 2018 Alfred D. Chandler Jr International Visiting Scholar at Harvard Business School. He works on migration, cities, firms and history. An alumnus of the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, he has been a faculty member at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad and was the 2013 Jean Monnet Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute, Florence, Italy. He has published widely on migration for a decade and has served on policymaking groups. His first book, India Moving: A History of Migration, was published in 2018.

Shahana Chattaraj is Director of Research Data and Innovation (RDI) at WRI India and visiting fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government, and worked on migration and development at the United Nations Population Fund. At WRI, Shahana is beginning a project that explores links between city and local governance and migrant worker welfare in the pandemic aftermath. She is also co-investigator on an ongoing panel study that examines refugee outcomes across cities and neighbourhoods in Europe. Dr Chattaraj holds a PhD in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and a master’s degree in international development and urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Deepti Raj is Senior Project Associate in the RDI team in WRI India, working on migration, urban governance and public services, and socio-spatial inequalities in Indian cities and regions. She has worked with government departments, think tanks and NGOs on migration, urbanization, housing, water and sanitation, media and communications. During her masters education at TISS Hyderabad, Deepti worked as an intern with Dr Tumbe on his migration research.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletters

Get the latest commentary, upcoming events, publications, and multimedia resources. Sign up for the monthly WRI India Digest.