Research Reports

Connecting India: Virtual and Real Linkages between the Telugu Diaspora and their Home Region in Andhra Pradesh

Author: Maudi Heerink


This research report studies a specific group of Indian migrants -- the Telugu diaspora from the Guntur region -- and follows their online interactions with people residing in Guntur.  The main purpose of the study was to chart out online networks that link the two groups and, using select case studies, to examine the developmental outcomes of these online networks in the ‘real world’. The intercultural ‘bridgespace diagram’ is used as a method to visualise the range of websites that are visited, created and maintained by Telugu migrants and Telugus living in their home region, in order to study their connections. The main research question addressed is: How do Telugu migrants and Telugus living in their home region in India use the internet to create new ties or to strengthen existing ties, and to what extent is this use of ‘virtual space’ related to their activities in ‘real space’?

Money to India: Transfer Channels for Remittances in the Guntur Region, Andhra Pradesh

Author: Wanda van Kampen


Most studies on remittances in India focus on the national level, and there is a dearth of scholarship on the nature and impact of remittances in smaller urban and rural regions which witness a significant amount of international migration. This research report is based a study in one such provincial town, Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. Guntur has seen significant migration of highly skilled professionals to North America, who send back substantial remittances. The research project studied the transfer of remittances to the Guntur region by evaluating the available modes of transfer and the tie-ups between various institutional facilitators, and analysed the different roles of senders and receivers in the transfer system. The report shows the contradictions in the ideas of banking organisations and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in making decisions about which mode of transfer to employ. An interrogation of advertisements used by banks regarding their remittance facilities shows that banks assume a far greater role of the receiver of remittances in the decision-making process than is actually the case. Instead, the study revealed that it is usually the sender who decides on the mode of transfer to be used, and that the influence of family members in India is rather limited. As a result, through their advertising (aimed at the local families, the receivers of remittances) banks do not reach the right actors in the transfer network, and senders take decisions about the mode of transfer without being well informed about the total scope of services available.

Breaking Free or Staying Put? Migration Decisions for Female Students in Central Gujarat, India

Author: Molly Fitzpatrick


This research report focuses on the ambivalent perspectives of middle class, female students in central Gujarat, concerning the possibility of international migration in the near future. I argue that there are many factors that need to be taken into account when answering the question of why people choose to migrate, and that making the decision to go is never easy. The young women in central Gujarat are all struggling with the prospect of a future abroad. They are clearly torn between two opposing forces. On the one hand they feel the need to break free from the constraints of Indian social control. They see the West as a ‘liberal’ place where they could fulfill their aspirations for independence. On the other hand they are anxious about leaving their familiar environment, family, and friends. They know that a move abroad would constitute a major social, cultural and economic rupture in their lives. 

I argue that this ambivalence between staying and going translates directly into their ambivalent characters. These girls appear to be relatively liberal, freethinking young adults. However, it is important not to overlook that they are continuously trying to live up to their parents’ and society’s expectations. This should not be seen as conflicting, or internally contradictory. Instead, I will show that this ambivalence is in fact symptomatic of their position as middle class girls living in a middle town.

The Organisation of Migration: Migration Industry and Social Networks in Anand, Gujarat (India)

Author: Pieter Lagerwaard


This research report focuses on migration agents in Anand, India. Migration agents are the key figures in the migration industry: ‘a major and largely legal international business that facilitates migration’ (Castles 2004: 209). However, in Anand many potential migrants possess a network of overseas family and friends that can assist them in their migration. Such networks are known as migrant networks. Although migrant networks facilitate various parts of migration for a large number of potential migrants in Anand; agents fulfill a key role in their migration. Migration agents possess knowledge and overseas connections that potential migrants cannot acquire through their networks. Furthermore, agents can function as substitutes for persons who do not possess a migrant network, therefore placing them in a position to migrate. Agents manage to fulfill this role by, on the one hand, penetrating the migrant networks and, on the other hand, by co-operating on a macro level to arrange the practical parts of migration.

Regulated Independence: Female Students Living in Hostels in Central Gujarat, India

Author: Fieke Jägers


Young female students in Vidyanagar, India, are subjected to new living conditions. They moved away from their family homes for study purposes and are now living independently. The level of social control decreases in the absence of close family members, which offers these youngsters the possibility to act independently. Their hometown-based parents still manage, however, to impose restraining regulations on their daughters. They do so through various channels, which include their social network in Vidyanagar and the use of modern communication technology. At the same time, these young women are subjected to the social control of their new community: the Vidyanagar community. Deviant behaviour can have severe, long-term consequences for the reputation of both students and their families. However, in this temporary phase of independence, the young women secretively act upon their personal interest, in the realisation that they will have to conform to the dictates of yet another set of family members after graduation, their future in-laws.

RR 6 :
Dakshina Kannada in the Gulf: Community and Politics in a Transnational Virtual Space Author(s): Jananie Kalyanaraman and Leah Koskimaki

Dakshina Kannada in the Gulf: Community and Politics in a Transnational Virtual Space

Authors: Jananie Kalyanaraman and Leah Koskimaki


This research report reviews and analyses the content of online fora that connect the Dakshina Kannada region of India with the Gulf. Internet-based research points to the ways in which transnational connections between migrants and their home regions may influence local transformations. The report discusses online transactions and debates that take place within this transnational space, with a focus on linguistic, religious, regional and/or cultural identities and debates about development initiatives in the region. The analysis shows how diasporic community organisations and their activities, such as channelling investments and philanthropy to the home region, create translocal publics that are intensely engaged in a politics of self-representation. The ubiquity of virtual publics reveals the visual lexicon of transnational spaces and communities that are facilitated by internet-based communication and sociality.  

District Level Survey of International Migration and Reverse Flows in Central Gujarat, India

Authors: Puja Guha and Biplab Dhak


The report on Migration and Remittances in the Central Gujarat Region is based on a household survey conducted under the Provincial Globalisation programme, in collaboration with the Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR), Ahmedabad. The main objective of the survey was to understand the pattern of international migration and the nature of reverse financial flows sent by international migrants originally from the central Gujarat region, particularly Anand and Kheda Districts. The survey results highlight that there has been a gradual change in the destinations and duration of migration, with the emergence of several newer destinations. Also, the nature of migrant remittances is diverse, ranging from family level remittances to philanthopic transfers made to social causes.

Transnational Flows: Mapping the Extent, Pattern and Impacts within a Multi-scalar Comparative Framework in Gujarat

Authors: Biplab Dhak and Amita Shah


This report presents the results of a survey of 15,000 migrant households in Gujarat. International emigration from Gujarat is greater among the upper classes and castes, and non-Muslims, who also remit the largest volume of resources to the state. A majority of migrant resources are in the form of philanthropy, especially directed to religious institutions, rather than household level remittances for consumption as in Kerala. The data show that the type, amount, and uses of resources sent by migrants are influenced by the place of origin and the destination of migration, the duration of migration, and social factors such as religion and socio-economic status. The study reinforces the idea that transnational flows determined by different contexts and social classes have diverse and complex developmental and social implications.

Local Differences and Transnational Ties: The Gujarati Hindu Community of Cape Town

Author: Molly Fitzpatrick


This paper makes the case for a reconceptualisation of transnational connections, incorporating the influence of the local and historical context of migration. Following the transnational turn in migration studies, scholars have stressed the way in which the connections migrants maintain across nation-state boundaries affect their daily lives and subjectivities in the place of settlement. In these studies, transnational connections are taken as the main unit of analysis, and the local context of the host society is seen as the derivative. As a result, the influence of the local context on the way in which transnational ties are maintained is overlooked. Based on five months of fieldwork amongst the Gujarati Hindu community of Cape Town, the case presented here will show that local particularities have an inherent impact on global processes, and that the local and the global cannot be understood separately from each other. The Gujarati Hindu community has been settled in South Africa for over a century but India remains important to their daily lives, and transnational activities are extensively engaged in. Linking the local context to global connections, I argue that the regionalised migration trajectories and the manifestation of the history of apartheid in the local context have significantly impacted the way in which these transnational ties are maintained.

Key Words: Indians, South Africa, migration, transnationalism, caste

Transnational Grandparenting: Intergenerational Kinship Support among Ethiopian Migrant Families in Washington,D.C. and Addis Ababa

Author: Aida Esther Kassaye


This research report examines a range of intergenerational caregiving patterns within Ethiopian migrant households in the U.S., described as ‘transnational grandparenting’. It covers both caregiving situations that require Ethiopian grandparents to fly over to the U.S. in order to help with the household and babysitting, and arrangements in which grandparents in Ethiopia care for their – either ‘left-behind’ or U.S.-born – grandchildren. These transnational care arrangements were studied through five months of ethnographic fieldwork among twenty-one Ethiopian transnational families livingin Washington, D.C. and Addis Ababa. The report shows that a combination of socioeconomic factors and values related to the maintenance of traditions and to childrearing play decisive roles in the formation of transnational care arrangements. While the arrangement is meant to offer relief to the parents and create a natural bond with Ethiopia for the children, I argue that the phenomenon produces various contradictions in terms of familial expectations and obligations, and leads to the need for renegotiating cultural notions of upbringing and family values. Parents and grandparents in Ethiopia and the U.S. experience and reflect upon transnational commitments in different ways, ultimately illustrating the implications of transnationalism on family relationships and family organisation. Such family negotiations, I argue, can only be understood by studying both ends of the transnational family.