Humboldt Fellowship: "Rural-Urban Linkages in a Global City"

  • Research Group: Modern Indian History
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar
  • Funding: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Duration: September 2014 to March 2017

Project Summary:

Since colonial times Mumbai has remained an important economic and commercial centre of India and has attracted labour migrants from all over the country. As the financial capital and the most globally connected city of India, Mumbai presents a landscape in which better-paid employment in the textile manufacturing sector has been replaced by the service sector economy.

This research proposes to focus on those spaces in Mumbai known as Galas ("rooms") that have not only provided an entry point for the rural labour migrants but also played an important role in shaping their urban experience - social, political, economic, cultural and spatial.What factors shape the urban experience of present day rural labour migrants in a rapidly transforming Mumbai city?

Despite the closure of the textiles and other manufacturing industries Galas have continued to remain an important point of entry for the present generation rural labour migrants. The particular focus on rural labour migrants who inhabit the spaces once occupied by the textile millworkers will shed light on relations between restructured capital and migrant labour, and the kind of political, social and cultural experience the present generation rural labour migrants undergo in comparison to the previous generation. In addition to the Galas attention will also be paid to the rural landscape which is the point of departure for the rural labour migrants. The focus on villages will provide interesting findings regarding the role of the rural labour migrant as well as the former factory workers. Lastly, the study will also focus on the gender question which continues to remain a neglected dimension in the study of migration. The neglect of gender dimension, particularly the patterns of female labour migration has resulted in the "invisibilisation of gender".

Reception given for Humboldtians by the German Federal President Joachim Gauck

Sumeet AvHDr. Sumeet Mhaskar participated in the annual meeting organised by the Humboldt Foundation in Berlin. Around 600 research fellows and research award winners from all disciplines and countries were invited with their families to attend the annual meeting. The meeting offered an opportunity to exchange views with representatives of the foreign missions and to hold discussions with members of the Foundation's Board of Governors, the Selection Committees and the Humboldt Foundation's staff. The highlight of this meeting was the traditional reception given by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck for all participants. Read more ...