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.
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.