Policy Engagements and Blogs

Writing Urban India Fellowship Mentees

February 28, 2023

The following candidates were selected as mentees for Writing Urban India Fellowship anchored and funded by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Urban Studies Foundation (USF) respectively:

1. Shweta Rani

Shweta Rani is currently a faculty at the Centre for Writing and Pedagogy (CWP), Krea University. She is an anthropologist whose research lies at the intersection of medical anthropology, science and technology studies, urban studies, and ecological anthropology.
She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics. Her thesis is titled ‘The Urban and the Pathological: Delhi through Epidemics’. She is dedicated to exploring and expanding the possibilities of academic writing in Hindi. Her popular writing has appeared in Hindi dailies such as Jansatta. Her recent academic writings in English have appeared in journals like EPW and Contributions to Indian Sociology.

2. Suruchi Kumari
Suruchi Kumari is a PhD candidate at Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is working on the exceptions and continuity in Industrial Model Townships in India (for her Ph.D. thesis). Her work is principally focussed on the relationship between the state, society, and market in the contemporary urbanisation processes using urban politics and governance as analytical points. She has also received the ICSSR Doctoral fellowship 2019-2021 for her Ph.D. Program.

3. Dhiren Swain
Dhiren is a Ph.D. candidate at IIT Madras. His interest lies in Land tenure, Bureaucracy, Technology led governance, party politics, and local-level governance. He has done his Master’s in Political Science from the University of Hyderabad. His research concerns the JAGA Mission in Odisha. Through his work, he seeks to understand the transformation of land tenures, and the creation of new knowledge through drone-based land titling.

4. Raina Ghosh
Raina is currently a PhD Research Scholar and ICSSR Doctoral Fellow (2021-’22) at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She works on the themes of urban political ecology, spatial politics, and water-society relations. Her thesis studies the everyday city-making processes around ‘Ghats’ of River Hooghly in Kolkata. She has worked extensively in the field of urban (on the CACIM-Nagar-Nadi Fellowship 2021, with Azim Premji University, ESRC-University of Bristol, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-CES Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, etc.). She has contributed to Op-Ed pieces in LiveWire and Beejpatra (People’s Resources Centre).

5. Archana Singh
Archana Singh is an MPhil research scholar at the Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. Her current research focuses on mapping the spatialities of young women’s leisure experiences in Lucknow city. She also works on the political ecology of large infrastructure projects, particularly the riverfront development projects which have witnessed a renewed push as a part of Urban river management in India. She has produced numerous reports and articles analysing issues with infrastructure projects on floodplains, with a special focus on river Ganga in Patna and Sabarmati in Ahmedabad.

6. Balbir Singh Aulakh
Balbir Singh Aulakh is a PhD Scholar at the School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. He has completed his M.Phil. in Social Sciences from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and graduated in public policy from the University of Mumbai. His broad research interests include sports development, land transformations, aesthetic politics and community development.

7. Shruthi Ramesh
Shruthi Ramesh is an architect, urban designer and researcher from Kerala. She holds a Masters in Architecture with a major in Urban Design from CEPT University, Ahmedabad. Her research, vested in critical explorations of urban studies in intersectional feminist and subaltern geographies, has been showcased in various international conferences and publications. She was one of the top finalists of the CEPT Essay Prize 2021-22 for her essay “Colour as Embellishment: The Transforming Culture of Aesthetics in the Realms of the Urban Poor”. Her latest co-authored article, “Geographies of Incineration: The (In)visible Aides of the Tenebrous Urban Networks” was published in the Harvard Urban Review 2022.

8. Shreyasi Pal
Shreyasi is a faculty at BMS School of Architecture, Bangalore, teaching B.Arch and M.Arch (Urban Design) courses. She is also a Research Scholar at School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, with her thesis tentatively titled “Spatial History of East-Bengali Refugees in Post-Partition Kolkata: Mapping Spatial Relationships in a Jabar-Dakhal Refugee Colony”.

9. Siddardha Darla

Siddardha Darla holds a PhD in Sociology from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB). His research interests include understanding resistance and persuasion to neoliberal regime of land dispossession in India and the development agenda that encapsulates it. His PhD thesis investigated the instrumental role played by Land Pooling Scheme in framing politics to land procurement for locating Amaravati city in Andhra Pradesh state of India. He has published in Economic and Political Weekly and presented at national and international conferences.

10. Sila Mishra

Sila Mishra is a research scholar in the Department of Economic Sciences at IIT Kanpur. Her area of interest primarily lies in applied microeconomics and the economics of family and gender. As part of her research work, she has explored the efficiency of the Indian banking sector, network readiness of countries, and technical efficiency of the Indian judiciary. She is currently exploring India’s Time Use Survey.

11. Ankur Jaiswal

Ankur is currently working with India Labourline as a state coordinator in Delhi-NCR. During the course of his current and earlier work and research experiences, he has travelled across India, interacted with migrant workers across states and documented their life histories. These interactions shaped crucial questions of space and belongingness of migrant workers and their significance in contributing to a life of love and dignity for them. He has co-authored an ethnographic account of the same (Currently in Press), emerging from an ethnographic project. He has also contributed to a photo essay and a documentary based on these narratives.

12. EP Sarfas

Sarfras is a final year Post Graduate student pursuing MA in Society and culture from IIT Gandhinagar. He is working1 on the everyday lives and practices of young Muslims of Jamia Nagar (a marginalized neighborhood in New Delhi) for his thesis. He has done an ethnographic observation along with some semi-structured interviews with the young people of Jamia Nagar to know about their perspectives and experiences, based on which he seeks to build a writing output.

13. Ritika Rajput

Ritika is an independent researcher. Her research interests are small towns, rural-urban entanglements, urban water and climate change. She has three years of research experience. She is academically trained in Environment Studies. She holds a Master’s in Ecology and Environment Studies from Nalanda University, Rajgir. She was an Urban Fellow at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (2020-2021) and an Indian Smart Cities Fellow at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (2021-2022). She seeks to write on how ‘urban’ as a category operates in India.

14. Urmila Sahoo

Urmila Sahoo is a PhD scholar from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. She is currently working on the topic of the Elderly in Urban Setups. Her interest lies in studying elderly people and conducting research to inform policies and programmes that concern their welfare. She seeks to publish her work in reputed journals in order to promote more discussion & debating around this topic.

15. Vidya Mary George

Vidya Mary George is a UGC Senior Research Fellow at the School of Sanskrit, Philosophy and Indic Studies (SSPIS), Goa University, India. Her area of research is 20th Century Continental Philosophy. In her research work, she tries to understand the relation between selfhood and space, specifically the constitution of selfhood, its identity, and sense of belonging in space, as theorised by the thinkers Michel Foucault, Paul Ricoeur, and Jürgen Habermas. She has worked as a teacher, dialogue facilitator, counsellor, copyeditor, editorial assistant, and science communicator. She volunteers for Wisdom’s Edge Inc., an outreach organisation that brings philosophy to the edges of society.

16. Shahana Purveen

Shahana Purveen is a doctoral researcher at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her Ph.D thesis focuses on internal migration in Mumbai, specifically concerning the livelihood and identity issues of migrant taxi drivers in Mumbai. She has qualified for the UGC-NET exam conducted by the University Grants Commission. She has been awarded the Erasmus Mundus PhD Exchange Scholarship to visit the University of Oxford. She has presented her research at various national and international conferences. She has also published her work in edited books and journals. Her area of interest is ethnicity, integration, migration, and labour.

17. Meenakshi Dubey

Meenakshi Dubey is an architect and urban historian engaged in exploring what architectural and urban history can contribute to shaping our contemporary building cultures. She is currently an Independent Researcher based in Delhi, with teaching and working experience of more than a decade across Delhi, Bhopal & Kerala . She teaches graduate courses on History Theory Criticism and Urban Conservation along with architectural design studios associated with historical and sociological inquiry of urban settlements.
Meenakshi is pursuing her interests that currently orbits around critical cultural geographies, transnational building cultures, gender and identity in historic neighborhoods, Future of Urban Heritage, Politics and Jurisprudence.

Meenakshi works with a holistic vision to explore history , memory & past narratives of the cultural sites and adheres to responsive praxis whilst engaging with ‘architecture’ in an expanded condition.

18. Manjula Bahuguna

Manjula Bahuguna is an independent consultant with expertise in conducting research studies. She is currently working with Mumbai-based non-governmental organization SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action) on a study about non-communicable diseases and related healthcare services in informal settlements of Mumbai. She is deeply passionate about health systems strengthening and would like to continue participating in research studies that can inform health policies and improve evidence-based decision-making. She seeks to use the health system and policy research (HPSR) lens for future work in the field of public health.

19. Chandanapriya Dhanraj

Chandanapriya is an early-stage Urban Researcher and Practitioner. She is working as Research Associate in collaboration with Dr Devanshi Chanchani from Brunel University, London, and Hasiru Dala on a research project to understand the dynamics of Informal Waste Management in Bangalore City. Stemming from her understanding of Symbolic Anthropology and Grounded theory she has developed an interest in understanding urban cultures and their meanings, symbolisms, and politics through extensive fieldwork, with a focus on – social identity, urban planning, governance, and social practice. Her academic aspirations are driven by grassroots community-based work and social change.

20. Vikas Sehra

Vikas recently completed his Ph.D. titled “Political Ecology of Urban Flooding: Mapping Psycho-social Vulnerabilities”, at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. His Master’s thesis was titled “Kaleidoscopic Cities: An Exploration of Mental Health And Quality of Life In Slums”, and his M.Phil. thesis focused on “A Comparative Study of Hyderabad and Jaipur: Contextualizing Quality of Life in Changing Perspective of Governance.” His research interest is in Urban Studies, Disaster Studies, and Social Psychology.