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    Stateless people are not wanted by almost any country they go to. They are disowned by their country or either persecuted by their own country therefore forcing them to flee and when other countries do not want them they have to settle as illegal immigrants in the country and constantly live in the fear of being either deported or persecuted. A classic example would be the Jews in Germany during the Nazi era in which their own country was persecuting them.1 Though the Jews had a good international response to their help, the recent case, the minority of the Rohingya Muslims has found no international help from its neighboring countries due to the threat of terrorism. Mainly originating from Buddhist Burma, bordering majority Muslim Bangladesh, they are stateless and unwanted. Neither country will give them citizenship even though their families’ roots in modern-day Rakhine, once called Arakan, can be traced back to the Eighth Century.2 These people are now living at borders of Bangladesh and a significant amount in the Indian mainland.

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    This statelessness of this minority has led them to feel insecure and isolated from society. So therefore on has to draw at the inference that stateless people are generally isolated form normal society and thus form a collective identity with other such stateless people, basing this identity with statelessness.

    Also there may be a correlation between social class and statelessness as people who are stateless may be perceived as a lower class as they do not have the government backing, perks and protection which normal citizens have thus creating a status quo bias in the minds of people who have citizenship.3

    Citizenship is the basis of a large part of the individual’s identity as they identify themselves with the collective identity of the larger group with is nation. This also shapes their culture and therefore there is also a relationship between citizenship which helps form the individual’s cultural identity.

    People have argued that there is a direct relation between poverty and stateless people. 4 As poor people do not pay taxes and the government of the state has to spend for them, the government does not pay enough heed towards them.

     This research paper therefore will focus on these topics and explain such instances from a sociological and psychological viewpoint.  


Literature Review:


      Citizenship and Social Class by T. H. Marshall which was published by Cambridge at the University press in 1950. In this book, Marshall set out from an analysis of the concept of citizenship into three parts which were civil, political and social. He argued that in the previous times, it was not differentiated but as society progressed, citizenship can now be analyzed from help with three concepts as they have been more distinguished as society has progressed and the concepts of individual liberty and rights have emerged.5 In his essay, Marshall quoted Maine’s familiar generalization about the progress of society from status to contract, pointing out that the development of the conception of social rights of citizenship carried with it a reassertion of the claim to status, on a new basis of democratic equality.6

   Mapping citizenship in India is authored by Anupama Roy published by Oxford University Press in 2010, it talks about how is a citizen enframed in the current times and also how citizen ship cannot be taken away. The author also on the basis of social change explores the concept of citizenship. She also studies the concept of the paradox of hierarchy in citizenship, which should do the job of equality among the citizens of the particular nation and how sometimes it creates a hierarchy.

Research Questions:


·         Are poverty and statelessness related as the society isolates the stateless people?

·         How does citizenship affect and determine culture?

·         What are the psychological and sociological effects of citizenship?

·         Is there a direct co relationship between social class and citizenship?



The researcher believes that statelessness and poverty are interrelated concepts as people who are stateless are not accepted by any society and they thus have to form their own collective identity. Also as there is no government help, they get bound in this cycle. Also the researcher believes that citizenship is a major part in the development of any culture as citizenship builds a collective identity for a group of people who then seeing their commonalities form a culture on their own. Lastly, the researcher believes that citizenship plays a very important role in the mental state of a person and society at large as well. As citizenship provides an assurance of a collective identity, even when one of it is broken, it may cause a ripple effect in the collective identity of the community which has identified with each other on the basis of citizenship.

Objectives of the Research:


The objectives of the research are

·         To study the relationship between poverty and statelessness.

·         To study the socio cultural patterns of the stateless people and compare it to people with citizenship.

·         To study the process of citizenship and its social, cultural and socio-economic effects in India.

·         To study the positive and the negative aspects of citizenship drives held by a Government.

·         To study the psychological effect of citizenship on people.



The researcher has relied on both primary and secondary means of research. For data regarding relation between citizenship and sociology, the researcher has referred to secondary data. The researcher for all other information has relied on secondary data, statistics and a few research papers. Websites have also been a source of information regarding data and statistics to help analyze and compare the state of stateless people and also people who have no valid documents and therefore cannot be legally recognized as the citizens of a nation. This aspect is only studied in context to India.

Scope of research:


The researcher has only limited himself to finding out data and statistics on stateless people in India and the figures for people who have not been identified as citizens of India but are living in India and has not taken any other data or factors into consideration outside the ambit of the topic. Due to time constraints the researcher has not been able to do any field work or collect primary data and has therefore relied heavily on secondary sources of data. So this paper will only cover the topic which is “Stateless People and Citizenship in India”.



The study only relies on the non-official sources of data provided by different NGO’s and organizations as the government data cannot be trusted wholly as they themselves will get adversely affected if they tell the number of stateless people who previously had Indian citizenship. Also, it is very difficult to determine the exact number of stateless people in the country as many of them will be illiterate and live in remote areas or areas with lot of trans border illegal migration.

1 FRASER, DAVID, and FRANK CAESTECKER. “Jews or Germans? Nationality Legislation and the Restoration of Liberal Democracy in Western Europe after the Holocaust.” Law and History Review 31, no. 2 (2013): 391-422.

2 Krol, Nicola Smith; Charlotte. “Who are the Rohingya Muslims? The stateless minority fleeing violence in Burma.” The Telegraph. September 05, 2017. Accessed January 23, 2018.

3 Marshall, T. H. Citizenship and social class, and other essays. Camb.: C.U.P., 1950.


4 “Poverty and citizenship: Sociological perspectives on water services and public–private participation.” Geoforum. January 17, 2007. Accessed January 23, 2018.

5 Cole, G. D. H. The Economic Journal 61, no. 242 (1951): 420-22. doi:10.2307/2226966.

6 Hamilton, Henry. The British Journal of Sociology 2, no. 1 (1951): 80-82. doi:10.2307/587460.

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