Based on 60 life history interviews of migrant labourers on the streets and in shelters of North Delhi’s Yamuna Pushta, Ashwin will present a set of typologies on how people from poor agricultural families in rural Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Jharkhand became homeless in the nation's capital. Select calamities, or adverse experiences, that were common in these men's childhoods catalysed various ‘entry’ pathways into homelessness that he'll discuss. They include deaths of parents, pressures induced by poverty to support family members and physical abuse in early life. These catastrophes, however, spurred various coping mechanisms and degrees of further poverty which resulted in different types of homelessness – that is, living in the city without housing indefinitely (chronically homeless) or living itinerantly between the city and home (transiently homeless). These typologies emphasise dimensions of poverty not captured by urban poverty and homelessness measures, such as abandonment, strained to ruptured family bonds and the erosion of household and community support structures over time. Ashwin will discuss how these catastrophes are produced by destitution and should therefore be identified as risks, or vulnerabilities, that certain poor rural people in India plausibly face to future homelessness.
About the Speaker
Ashwin Parulkar is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Research where he focuses on causes, survival conditions, and exit pathways associated with homelessness in Delhi. He examines these issues in his forthcoming book, Exiles of the New Frontier (Speaking Tiger 2020). Ashwin is co-editor of The Right to Food Debates: Social Protection for Food Security in India (Orient Blackswan 2018) and co-author of Dispossessed: Stories from India’s Margins (Speaking Tiger 2017), which includes the monograph, Born Busy Dying: a field investigation of government responses to starvation deaths in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
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This is the hundred and seventeenth in a series of Urban Workshops planned by the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi and Centre for Policy Research (CPR). These workshops seek to provoke public discussion on issues relating to the development of the city and try to address all its facets including its administration, culture, economy, society and politics. For further information, please contact: Olivier Telle of CSH at firstname.lastname@example.org, Partha Mukhopadhyay at email@example.com or Marie-Hélène Zerah at firstname.lastname@example.org