British Association for South Asian Studies

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Gender, Growth and Governance in India

ECAF Fellowship report from Dr Nitya Rao, Professor of Gender & Development, University of East Angli.


ECAF Centre: L’Ecole Francais d’Extreme Orient, Pondicherry, India


The purpose of the fellowship as set out in my application was to work on the manuscript of my new monograph entitled ‘Gender, Growth and Governance in India’.

I had anticipated three major outcomes: writing the initial few chapters of the book, securing a book contract, and interactions with academics in the field. As also mentioned in my application, I had done some preliminary work on this topic in 2008, but thereafter had been involved with other research and writing, hence had been unable to follow this through.

The ECAF fellowship and the two months at EFEO, Pondicherry, really helped me get back into this work. I could access local journals and a range of books on the themes of growth, caste, state public policy etc, which are relevant to my work. The library at the French Institute, Pondicherry, is excellent, and I could devote a lot of time to reading and clarifying my ideas. This was my major purpose, and I think largely successful. At the same time, I was able to secure access to the latest round of the National Sample Survey dataset and work out support for its analysis and delivery of relevant tables. I was also able to discuss my work with academics and scholars at the Institute as well as at the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), Chennai.

The next step was to start writing the preliminary chapters and secure a book contract. Based on my research I was able to draft the introductory, conceptual chapter and make some progress towards spelling out the contents of the remaining chapters.

While not listed as an anticipated outcome on my application, the conducive atmosphere for work at Pondicherry enabled me to write a separate paper which I presented at a conference in London on April 2-3, 2012. The paper is entitled ‘Transnational migration, educational investments and youth aspirations’.

Over the next months I hope to build on this base to complete the book manuscript.