[Reader-list] Posting III

Aparajita De aparajita_de at rediffmail.com
Tue Jun 1 17:28:55 IST 2004

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After finalizing the schedule what plagued me was which would be ‘the cases’ to choose and what would be the logic in deciding my selection of these cases. The first criterion for selecting cases would be from specific geographical locations. But would this be based on administrative wards? It was evident from my pre-testing exercise that respondents could not really associate themselves with the administrative wards but were actually more familiar with the popular names of the areas. So what I found was that the walled city broadly encompasses six areas, they being Khadia, Jamalpur, Raikhad, Kalupur, Dariapur and Shahpur. Gandhi Road, Relief Road and Gheekantha Road were thought of as separate and independent areas and regarded as commercial and business areas.  So I decided that my case studies would be selected from these six areas, particularly because my study focuses on the relation between social and physical location of groups through their relative residential locations.

My second criterion was to select cases from different social groups living in these six main areas. But how do I define the ‘different social groups’? In the present context should it be based on the broader categories of Hindus and Muslims? Should they be considered as two monolithic categories? Who defines these categories – myself, the researcher or the researched? More importantly are the categories defined by the researcher and the researched different? If so, cant the categories of analysis and the categories of practice assimilated? Thus based on my field experiences I decided to consider a ‘stratified Hindu category’ and a ‘stratified Muslim category’. The composition of the respective strata was also based on my field experiences now and those while pursuing my PhD between 1999 and 2002. In other words, I am implying that these categories are constructs that are not given and rigid and are subject to change over a period of time. The stratified Hindu category is composed of the upper, intermediate and low castes. The upper castes included the Vanias (both Jains and Vaishnavs), Brahmins and Patels, the low castes includes the scheduled castes and the remaining is included in the intermediate caste group. In the stratified Muslim category there are two main divisions that of Sunnis and Shias. In the case of Sunnis they are further sub divided into Ashrafs that includes Saiyad, Sheikh and Pathan and the rest composes the Ajlafs and within the Shias there are Vohras and the Khojas.

The other criteria that I would like to bear in mind are age and gender of the respondents; degree of segregation and the extent to which the areas that the respondents live in are prone to conflicts.

So with the logic of selecting the case studies falling into place I am now ready to initiate the first phase of my field work.   


Research Associate
Centre for Social Studies
South Gujarat University Campus
Udhna Magdalla Road
Surat 395007
Phone: 0261 2227173/74
       0 9825808100(m)
Fax:0261 2223851
email: css_surat at satyam.net.in

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