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TAPSA: The Garb of Modernity”: The NRI Gaze and the Indian Developmental State

October 5, 2023-5pm

Foster 103

Nisarg Mehta

PhD Candidate, Sociology 

This talk explores the nature of the bi-directional relationship between the Indian State and the Indian diaspora. First, I explicate the post-colonial State’s attitudes towards its diaspora in comparative perspective and develop an account of how the Indian state singled out its “Dollar Diaspora” as a key site of investment. I then turn my attention to the American NRI’s gaze on the Indian developmental state, particularly the much-discussed “Gujarat Model”. Ethnographically interrogating the experiences, feelings and narratives of American NRIs in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, I examine how the political-economic imaginary of NRIs has come to play a role in India’s global aspirations at 75.