Universität Erfurt


Dr. Sanam Roohi: Junior Fellow

Universität Erfurt

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien

Postfach 900 221

99105 Erfurt


  • AISSR, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    Ph.D. 2 August 2010 – 24 August 2016

    Degree granted for the thesis Giving back: Diaspora philanthropy and the transnationalisation of caste in Guntur, India, on 6 December 2016
  • Calcutta University, Kolkata, India
    M.A., Political Science, 23 August 2004 – 31 May 2006
  • Loreto College, Kolkata, India
    B.A. Political Science Honours, with History and English elective, 1 August 2001 – 30 April 2004

Lebenslauf (PDF)


Transantionalising the Telangana movement: Politics of sub-regional nationalism within the diaspora

In June 2014, the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, was bifurcated into two separate states - the new state of Telangana and the truncated state of Andhra Pradesh. The bifurcation was a result of a long-standing demand for a separate state within India, with agitation peaking and waning in phases. In the last phase of this long drawn movement (particularly between 2007 – 2014), the agitation reached such frenzy that it saw a spate of suicides by young students in the Telangana region. This provided a moral legitimacy and urgency to the movement. One can argue that the last phase of the movement was also possibly one of the highly politicized, mediatized and sentimentalized one. It venerated a separate state as an almost sacrilised space, that would develop itself utilizing its resources that till then had been exploited by non-Telanganites, mostly the agrarian upper castes hailing from the other regions of the undivided state. Preliminary research suggests that the demand for a separate state during the last couple of decades also found much resonance among many ‘high skilled’, upper caste and affluent diaspora from the Telangana region domiciled particularly in the United States, but also in the Gulf countries. This regional diaspora found a common cause with their brethren ‘back home’ despite the divide of time and space, thereby stretching the movement from a localized topography, onto a transnational plane.

While some literature is available on the origin of demand for a separate state in peasant struggle in pre-Independent India, or the politics of sub-regional nationalism post independence, the transnationalisation of the movement and the role of the regional diaspora in the creation of the recently carved state of Telangana has not garnered any academic attention so far. Using multi-sited ethnography, this study will unravel the ways in which transnational migrants shaped the public perception for the creation of a separate state. Further it examines how this discourse is embedded in regional political economy, mediated by social relations, cultural values and political aspirations – all of which have perhaps played vital role in the transnationalization of the Telangana struggle. This project will attempt to untangle these connections that have made transnational mobilisation for a separate state in India a possibility. The research has far reaching implications not only in terms of its policy implications but also about emergent forms of diasporic engagements in (regional) political movements in global south.

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • Roohi. S. 2018. Transnational Citizens as Partners in Development: The case of NRI Cell in Guntur, Coastal Andhra. In Provincial Globalisation in India: Transregional mobilities and development politics. edited by Carol Upadhya, Mario Rutten and Leah Koskimaki. Routledge: London.
  • Roohi. S. 2018. Book review of Carol Upadhya’s Reengineering India: Work, Capital, and Class in an Offshore Economy. Sociological Bulletin. 67(2): 247-49.
  • Roohi, S. 2018. Historicising mobility trajectories of high skilled migrants from Coastal Andhra to the US. In ‘Migration, Change and Continuity’, special issue coedited by Tirthankar Roy and Chinmay Tumbe. Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics. doi: 10.1177/0260107918770954.
  • Roohi, S. 2018. Efficient Donors, Meritorious Receivers: Professionalizing transnational philanthropy in coastal Andhra. Modern Asian Studies, 52(1): 214-37. doi:10.1017/S0026749X17000622.
  • Roohi, S. 2017. Caste Kinship and the Realization of ‘American Dream’: Coastal Andhra Migrants in the United States. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 43(16): 2756-70. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2017.1314598.
  • Roohi. S. 2016. Governmentalising NRI Philanthropy in Andhra Pradesh: A Transregional Approach to India’s Development. In Accumulation in Post-colonial Capitalism, edited by Ranabir Samaddar, Samita Sen and Iman Kumar Mitra. Springer: Singapore.
  • Roohi, S. 2016. Unpublished Dissertation. Giving Back: Diaspora Philanthropy and the Transnationalisation of Caste in Guntur (India), University of Amsterdam: Amsterdam.
  • Roohi. S. 2016. Book review of Surinder S. Jodhka: Caste in Contemporary India. New Delhi: Routledge, 2014 in Sociological Bulletin 65 (2): 286-88.
  • Return of the Non-Resident. 2016. Short film based on my PhD research jointly conceptualised and produced with Prof. Carol Upadhya - https://vimeo.com/163534143.
  • Roohi. S. 2013. Social Impact of the City Planning Machinery: The Case of Road Widening in Bangalore, Working paper, CRG Policies and Practices 58, CRG: Kolkata.
  • Roohi. S. 2010. Minority within Minorities: Muslim Women in Kolkata in S Bhaumik edited Counter Gaze: Media, Migrants, Minorities, Frontpage Publication: Kolkata
  • Roohi. S and R. Samaddar ed. 2009. Key Texts on Social Justice in India, Sage Publications: New Delhi.



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