My name is Apoorva Jadhav, and I am a third-year Ph.D. student in Demography at the Population Studies Center, School of Arts and Sciences. I had the pleasure of meeting most of the undergraduate CASI bloggers during the interview process, but for those of you that I haven’t- welcome to India!
I have been in India for 3 days now, and have finally made my way to the southern city of Hyderabad, where I will be spending the next 6 weeks conducting independent research. Hyderabad is located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, and boasts a large technology backdoor to numerous MNCs- earning it the moniker, "Cyberabad". The city is also a prehistoric megalith site (!), with huge boulders precariously positioned on top of one another that dot the landscape (see second picture). Additionally, the city used to be the seat of the Mughal empire- particularly the Nizams- until India’s independence. The food is consequently a phenomenal combination of what one thinks of as South Indian (idli, dosa), and Nizam/Mughal cuisine (largely non-vegetarian: biryani, haleem).
Part of my dissertation focuses on aging in India, an upcoming demographic concern as the country’s proportion of elderly (age 60+) is projected to reach 20% by 2050. Due to increased out-migration of youth for employment/marriage, combined with systematic fertility decline in the latter half of the century, the proportion of elderly has been steadily increasing. Our knowledge about public and private support for this population is essentially a black hole- which is why more research is needed to plan for the elderly.
I specifically focus on older women, and how changing living arrangements (traditional joint family to nuclear) and patterns of familial support affect access to healthcare, pensions, and governmental schemes. This summer, I hope to conduct qualitative in-depth interviews (life histories) of about 40 women- which will complement the quantitative survey-based component of my dissertation chapter on aging.
Since I do not speak the local language, Telegu, I spent the day interviewing prospective Research Assistants who will help facilitate these discussions with the women. It’s Day 2 in Hyderabad, and I already have two RA’s lined up! I know I chose wisely when one of them told me she knows some of the best local dives for biryani and other food (upon my prodding). I know we will get along very well 🙂
That’s all for now- more later when I start the actual interviews (and of course, on the food). Hope you all are settling in well for the summer, where ever you are!