TODAY the West alarmed with migration, yet, since 1500, the largest mass migrations have been by Europeans who populated -

The Americas, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, reducing local populations to less than 3 percent. In much of Africa and the colonised nations, they dominated not by numbers but by wrestling power, so one can understand their concern.

DEPAYSEMENT - a French word whose literal meaning is ''to be without a country,'' describes the sense of disorientation in unfamiliar places.

For adventure travellers, it describes that combination of nervousness and exhilaration of being in countries whose customs and language are strange and new. Artists are familiar with the feeling, as each artwork is a step into the unknown.

The Surrealists, and later conceptual artists, deliberately created depaysement or disorientation to present familiar objects in unfamiliar contexts.

Since nomadic humans established agriculture societies and city life, a world of predictability and sameness emerged. While comforting for most, there have always been those who are restless, who crave challenges and a life of adventure.

Some travelers, such as Marco Polo and Ibn -i- Batuta and the many explorers of History, thirsted for knowledge of distant lands. Others, such as illegal migrants making hazardous journeys, and the many young people who run away to the city, wish to escape unbearable living conditions.

The British Somali writer Warsan Shire believes, ''No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark,'' while J.R.Tolkien writes, ''Not all those who wander are lost.''

The Silk Route and Colonialism were established for trade and acquisition of wealth, but were equally an opportunity for wanderlust.

The 17th and 18th-century England, the Grand Tour of Europe was an essential experience for gentlemen and, and some women, to complete their education and develop their aesthetic. A more connected world encouraged permanent migrations.

The term 'migration' emerged in in the 1700s, however, people have been migrating since the establishment of the human society. Large scale migrations were undertaken to escape the Ice-Age , wars or religious persecution.

Emigrants are those who leave a country, immigrants are those who wish to enter a country, settlers occupy a country, establishing their own rules and nomads have no fixed abode.

For most ordinary people migration grows out of a state of mind, described by the much travelled poet Robert W. Service :

There's a race of men that don't fit in-
A race that can't sit still-
So they break the hearts of kith and kin-
And they roam the world at will.

The honor and serving of some beautiful essay writing, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Durriya Kazi, University of Karachi.


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