Margaret Walton-Roberts: "Doing migration research in India - Perseverance and the exhilaration of discovery"
from the field.
Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the best
research centers in
As an affiliate of CDS, I have access to a beautiful campus, good library, computer facilities and the opportunity to interact with bright graduate students in the applied economics MPhil and PhD program (which is offered in collaboration with
Much of my time in Kerala, however, has actually been spent away from the CDS campus; rather, I have been traveling in the south and central parts of the state. This extensive travel (I also visited Punjab in Northern India after being invited to meet scholars in Chandigarh and explore possible joint projects) has been physically and emotionally exhausting at times, but also very worthwhile.
Beyond this, the major difficulties I found have been dealing with the Indian bureaucratic system, which can sometimes cause irritating delays in areas such as securing a research visa, gaining clearances to interview in government nursing colleges, opening a bank account, and buying a railway ticket (although, to be fair, the railway system is very efficient in most regards). In the face of these adversities, I have found perseverance and good humour to be indispensable, and a bit of pig-headedness has helped as well.
I will freely admit that this undertaking has been challenging at times, but now I look back on it, things have gone fairly well. In the thick of it, though, maintaining the motivation to keep pushing on despite the privations faced was difficult, and I will admit to moments when I felt like saying ‘to hell with it’. Nevertheless, the exhilaration of discovery and the ability to satisfy that most basic of intellectual motivations, curiosity, have been immensely rewarding, and I am very grateful to have had this opportunity.
Geography and Environmental Studies