- Himalay Gohel
- Email address:
- Thesis title:
- Caste Genealogies: Myths and Histories of Dalit Communities from Saurashtra, India
Himalay Gohel completed his Masters and MPhil in Performance studies at the School of Arts & Aesthetics from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). His MPhil dissertation documented the changes that Garba dances from Gujarat India underwent since State and private initiatives began commercialising folk dances in the 1980s. Before joining SOAS for PhD, Himalay worked at the Archive and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ARCE) in Gurgaon, where he supervised the digitisation of Komal Kothari’s collection in collaboration with the Endangered Archive Programme –commissioned by the British Library. He also worked as a Research Associate at IIT Bombay in 2018, for a project on Performance Making and the Archive.
Alongside his academic interests, Himalay has been part of theatre groups that engage with social justice and urban inequalities. He acted in a couple of films, among which his latest, In The Month of Love, was screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in 2020.
Himalay’s project focuses on the local myths and genealogical narratives that circulate among Dalit castes of Saurashtra in Gujarat, India. These myths and narratives are recorded in manuscripts, custody of the Barots- a caste of genealogists famed for their creative writing and performative skills in western India. Periodically, genealogists also perform for their patrons as part of the local social and religious rituals. This research documents the form and content of the manuscripts as well as these performances with the aim to unravel records of social movements that have shaped these castes’ histories.