chapter  5
24 Pages

Transacting Asylum

Plotting ‘reasons to migrate’ captures only part of the story of Punjabi migrations to the UK. The other aspect is mapping the distinct phases within continuous and seemingly undifferentiated general movement. South Asian migration to the UK has a long history, stretching back to the East India Company, connecting different classes and social groups (Ballard and Ballard 1977; Fisher 2004; Visram 2002). Though servants and sailors formed the earliest Indian working class settlements in Britain from the 17th century (Visram 2002: 2), settlements of Sikh, primarily rural, migrants became more discernable from the late 1950s (Ballard and Ballard 1977; Helweg 1986).