Diaspora in Humanitarian Action: Analysing the Indian Diaspora’s Humanitarian Potential and Efforts for ‘Mother India’

India Quarterly, Volume 79, Issue 2, Page 157-174, June 2023.
Humanitarian action is commonly thought to involve two types of aid providers: international and local actors. But this tends to ignore a third humanitarian domain, namely transnational humanitarianism during conflicts, global epidemics and natural disasters by diaspora individuals and organisations. These transnational connections, which involve the mobility of people, goods and money, significantly change the context in which global humanitarian actors function and may have notable secondary effects on other aid providers. We contend that the significance of diaspora humanitarianism during natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic has still not been thoroughly explored in the academic literature and remains relatively ‘invisible’ in aid practices and policies. This article arises from an empirical study on the significance of diaspora in humanitarian action by analysing the impact of diaspora remittances and organisations that have emerged as an important potential for diasporas during humanitarian action. To examine the potential and role of the diaspora in humanitarian action, this article makes the case for the Indian diaspora’s humanitarian potential and efforts, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

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