Protest emigration

Protest emigration (also called hijrat or deshatyaga in South Asia) is the use of emigration as an activist tactic when it is felt political change is not currently possible inside a jurisdiction. Gene Sharp in The Politics of Nonviolent Action describes this as a form of social noncooperation.[1]

In some traditions, such emigrations have been symbolically analogized to the Hegira or to the Exodus.

Pre-modern class conflictEdit

This was a method used against local lords by peasants and lower classes in the secessio plebis of Ancient Rome and in Japan[2][1] as well as Southeast Asia.[3] Fugitive peasants were a recurring phenomenon under European serfdom. This tactic has also been noted as important to the formation of various pre-colonial African states, as well as a template for later eras.[4]

Anticolonial resistanceEdit

This featured in several anticolonial and decolonization movements,[5] including in British India, as in the Hijrat of 1920 from North-West Frontier Province to independent Afghanistan associated with Abul Kalam Azad of the Khilafat Movement,[6] and in the 1928 Bardoli Satyagraha and 1930 Salt March operations which included some migrations from Gujarat to the princely Baroda State.[1] Hijrat was a tactic commended several times by Gandhi as appropriate to certain circumstances.[7] This tactic was also proposed but not pursued as a form of resistance to concessions in China.[1] And it was also significant in emigration from French West Africa to the Gold Coast and other colonies of British West Africa.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Sharp, Gene (1973). The Politics of Nonviolent Action. P. Sargent Publisher. ISBN 978-0-87558-068-5.
  2. ^ Bowen, Roger W. (1984). Rebellion and Democracy in Meiji Japan: A Study of Commoners in the Popular Rights Movement. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-05230-7.
  3. ^ Adas, Michael (2018-10-29). State, Market and Peasant in Colonial South and Southeast Asia. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-429-86630-2.
  4. ^ Herbst, Jeffrey (1990). "Migration, the Politics of Protest, and State Consolidation in Africa". African Affairs. 89 (355): 183–203. ISSN 0001-9909.
  5. ^ Scott, James C.; Kerkvliet, Benedict J. Tria (2013-12-19). Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance in South-East Asia. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-84532-4.
  6. ^ Clements, Frank; Adamec, Ludwig W. (2003). Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-402-8.
  7. ^ Jolly, Surjit Kaur (2006). Reading Gandhi. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 978-81-8069-356-4.
  8. ^ Asiwaju, A. I. (1976). "Migrations as Revolt: The Example of the Ivory Coast and the Upper Volta before 1945". The Journal of African History. 17 (4): 577–594. ISSN 0021-8537.