Perceived Discrimination of Old Settlers in Sikkim


The old settlers in Sikkim are a community of mainland Indians whose ancestors had settled at least 15 years before the merger with India in 1975. At present, the total population of the community is less than three thousand individuals, comprising various ethnicities. This qualitative study focuses on the perceived discrimination of the old settlers, who form a demographic minority in the state. Data was collected using telephonic interviews from a sample of 11 old settlers. Thematic analysis indicated racial differences between the northeasterner indigenous community and mainland Indian old settlers as a major reason for perceived discrimination. The participants expressed the experience of negative emotional reactions, such as anger and disappointment, when they faced discrimination. The participants also felt betrayed by the government of India because they did not receive adequate protection for their rights when their identity in Sikkim changed from foreigners to citizens. Reactions to discrimination included migrating out of the state, experiencing negative emotions such as anger, disappointment and fear, and learned helplessness.

Author Biographies

Bhasker Malu, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India; O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India

Bhasker Malu is a lecturer at O. P. Jindal Global University and is currently completing his PhD from CHRIST (Deemed to be University). He has published peer-reviewed papers on educational psychology and emotion recognition. His latest publication was in Psychological Studies under the title “Development and Validation of Emotion Recognition Software in the Indian Population”. His doctoral research is focused on the regional nature of racial discrimination in India.

Santhosh Kareepadath Rajan, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India

Dr. Santhosh Kareepadath Rajan, currently working as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Christ University (Bangalore, India), has his broad areas of interest in solution focused approaches, positive psychology, and research methods. Topics of his current research projects include resilience, grit, quality policing, discrimination, and solution focused questions. He has recommendable expertise in the areas of test construction and structural equation modeling. His most recent publications include Development and Psychometric validation of Three-Dimensional Grit Scale, and Emotional Intelligence as a Predictor of Police Operational Stress: A Pilot Study. He has published 25 scientific manuscripts in national and international peer-reviewed journals, nine book chapters, and one book; delivered numerous training and keynotes in various national and international conferences.

Nikhita Jindal, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India

Nikhita Jindal is currently a PhD scholar at CHRIST (Deemed to be University). She has published peer-reviewed papers in the areas of education, childhood, and disability studies. Her most recent publication was in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology Editorial, titled, “Exploring the Use of Mobile Phones by Children with Intellectual Disabilities: Experiences from Haryana, India”.

Aishwarya Thakur, Palo Alto University, California, USA

Aishwarya Thakur is currently a PhD Student in Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University. She has a strong inclination towards diversity and community mental health. She has published peer-reviewed papers in the area of trauma and survivors of domestic violence. Her most recent publication was in Psychological Studies, entitled “Expressions of Women Survivors of Domestic Violence: Idioms of Distress”.

Tanvi Raghuram, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India

Tanvi Raghuram received Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media studies, English, and Psychology from CHRIST (Deemed to be University), India in 2021. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Neuropsychology from Bangor University, UK. Her research interests include clinical, cognitive, and social neuropsychology.


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How to Cite
Malu, B., Rajan, S., Jindal, N., Thakur, A., & Raghuram, T. (2022). Perceived Discrimination of Old Settlers in Sikkim. Changing Societies & Personalities, 6(3), 677–691. doi:10.15826/csp.2022.6.3.195
Research Notes