‘The Emotional Economy of Migration’ : Women’s Perspectives on Male outmigration in Folk Singing Tradition of Haryana


Ojaswini Hooda (University of Delhi)

Folksongs are the collective resources of a community that represent not just tradition but also communal experiences in verbalised form. Women in Haryana sing songs on various occasions and ceremonies that marks significant moments in life cycle along with celebrating seasons and festivals. These songs are not written anywhere and record their experience that is “intellectualised mnemonically” (Ong 36). Haryana is a rural state in North India where migration has been a social-economic reality. Male outmigration for employment reasons is a fact since colonial times where men moved out of their village, leaving their family and partner behind. While economic and social effects of migration have been aspects of academic study, the emotional effects of migration, especially from women’s perspective have scarcely been recorded.

This paper attempts to unravel the emotional economy of migration as represented in women’s folk singing tradition of Haryana. This unravelling is crucially pointed towards examining women’s words as epistemic resources that reveal aspects of migration that are either left unacknowledged or considered “unimportant.”

Part of 31-06 Mapping the Poetics and Politics of Migration in Indian Folk Tradition, Wednesday, October 20, 9:30 am–11:00 am