Looking at segregation from the angle of mobility to explore how new spaces are being made as well as navigated, my research shows how routes of rural-urban connectivity and trajectories of transnational migration and return are being modified under new regimes of rural and urban development and how social relations are maintained and transformed in the process. This anthropological and historical perspective allows for deeper reflection on questions of segregation and mobility which are currently the object of much public debate as well as protest in India.
While most scholarly debate in contemporary India concentrates on the city, this project puts rural India centre stage. Based on research in and around the town of Anand in central Gujarat and among migrants from the region based in the UK and USA, it maps the historical process of rerouting relations in the period between the anti-Muslim pogroms of 2002 and the train attacks of 2017, through methods of ‘travel-along’ ethnography and ‘on the road’ oral histories.
My fellowship at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden rounds off the final stage of this research project, with the purpose of developing the project into a book publication. The project builds on my PhD thesis ‘Mobility and the Region’ (2016), which was part of the WOTRO-funded research program ‘Provincial Globalisation’ at the University of Amsterdam and the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore.