SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

SUNDARANA. Marriage, migration and social change among the Patidars of central Gujarat

Dr Alice Tilche

Date: 4 February 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 4 February 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar

In the 1950s the anthropologist David F. Pocock conducted fieldwork in Sundarana, central Gujarat, with a focus on the Patidar community. Sixty years later we returned to see what changed. Pocock described the Patidars as an intensely competitive and hierarchical society. Today dynamics of status competition continue to be a key principle of social life although the basis for the measurement of status dramatically shifted. In the 1950s land was central to the ways Patidars thought about society and ranked one another. Today, agriculture is no longer regarded as a remunerative and dignified occupation and farmers are considered poor.  Instead, international migration, ranked nation states and white collar jobs have become the new value of the caste against which life course decisions are marked. Focussing on a young men’s search for a bride, this documentary is about a village’s intertwining with international forms of migration, seen from the perspectives of those who fail and remain. It describes a village in which migration has become an economic and social necessity and the prerequisite to be able to belong: to acquire, land, build a house and marry.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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