Paroj is an urban ethnographer researching, teaching and writing about home, belonging, and everyday responses to marginalisation and spatial precarity. Paroj is a lecturer based at the Development Planning Unit (DPU), at University College London (UCL). She has a PhD from the Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and M.A. from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. Following 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork with footpath dwellers in Mumbai, her doctoral work contributes towards non-Western understanding and non-dominant realities of the intimate and the public. With years of engagement in areas of social, economic and political inclusion and anti-discrimination mobilisations in India, Paroj has gathered practical insights on developmental challenges in the South Asian contexts. In her pedagogic approach and research she assimilates academic knowledge and practical engagements when teaching issues on housing, global development and research methods.
Dr Ratoola Kundu is the Chairperson and an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Urban Policy and Governance at TISS Mumbai. She has a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2010). Her research interests lie at the intersection of understanding the different trajectories of the production of urban space and the ways in which particular marginalised groups experience, contribute to and actively resist exclusionary forms of socio-spatial neoliberal urban transformations. She has worked on several collaborative national and international research projects on urban housing, infrastructure development, informal work, urban governance and urban planning.
Brijesh Kumar Arya is the conveyor of the Maharashtra Rajya Beghar Abhiyan—a state-level forum committed to realizing democratic rights and aspirations of the houseless. He is also the founder and president of Pehchan–a non-profit organization working with and for the rights of the houseless people, living on the streets of Mumbai. In the past, Brijesh has received a fellowship from UnLtd India towards a livelihood programme for Mumbai’s houseless communities. With years of experience in the mobilization of the houseless, imparting leadership training, skill training programmes for the youth and women community and organizing campaigns and advocacy for identity, shelter rights and food security, Brijesh Kumar has been leading a silent movement in exposing increasing vulnerabilities and challenging growing inequalities in the city. In the past, Brijesh Kumar has also worked for the Right to Education of street children and Beghar Yuva Pahal – the Youth Initiative project with the focus on empowerment of youth living on the streets of Mumbai. Brijesh has a master’s degree in social work and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology.
Ashok Pandey is a founder and coordinator of Beghar Mazdoor Sanharsh Samiti. He has worked on mobilizing houseless people and organized various workshops and dharnas for the rights of the homeless community.
He is also a field supervisor with the Housing and Land Rights Network. He works on various issues such as houselessness, poverty, malnutrition, housing right and human rights. Ashok Pandey holds a bachelor degree in social work.
Kajal Das is the secretary of Aastha Jadavpur, a non-profit organization in Kolkata, committed to enabling poor and vulnerable groups to access human rights. He has also been associated with the Calcutta Samaritans—a social movement that started to secure the social and legal rights of the urban poor. Kajal Das has worked extensively with Kolkata’s homeless communities, waste pickers, street vendors, among others, to address issues of livelihood, right to secure shelter, health, citizenship and gender rights. He holds a B. Com (Pass) degree from Calcutta University.
Arushi Sahay is a Research Assistant with the Delhi team for this project, where I am working closely with our field coordinator to draw out the main issues and themes that emerge from Delhi’s houseless communities in the past one year as they braved Covid-19.
Before joining this project, Arushi was working as a Teaching Assistant at Ahmedabad University. She has studied sociology in her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, where her research interests have hovered around gender, reproduction, and women’s health in India in relation to state policy. Arushi has used methods of archival research, discourse analysis, and ethnography to conduct various projects on topics such as family planning and contraception, health and gender in incarcerated settings, and practices of hymenoplasty in India.
Maggie Paul is a Research Associate in the ‘Humaree Pehchaan’ project. She is focusing on primary data collection and analyses in the city of Mumbai – engaging closely with the houseless population, government officials and other stakeholders to draw out a comprehensive picture related to (un)safety of the houseless during the COVID-19 lockdown(s). She is also assisting with administrative tasks and coordinating with Research Assistants in the other cities that the project is operating in.
Maggie is enrolled as a part-time PhD candidate in Politics and International Relations at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Her PhD thesis focuses on the question of migrant citizenship within the larger politics of pandemic in the country. Her broader interests include the contestations of citizenship in the South Asian context, politics at the urban margins as well as decolonial and pluriversal theory/practice. She has previously taught at TISS, Mumbai and held research consultation positions with various non-profits in India.
Besides work, she is an avid gardener, cyclist and collector of myths.
Nayani is a development sector professional. She is responsible for the development and management of various communication platforms for the dissemination of project findings. Her interest lies at the intersection of research and communications with a commitment towards fostering rights-based development. Her research interests include housing and slum upgradation, urban infrastructure, public spaces, urban policy and urban social movements.
Nayani holds a Master of Arts degree in Development Management from the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany. She also has a post-graduate diploma in Communication for Development from Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai.
Pooja Das Sarkar is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Mumbai and she will be documenting the research project 'Interrogating 'unsafety': a comparative action-research on COVID-19 governance' in the form of a 20-minute documentary film. The film will focus on the experience of the houseless population in Mumbai in COVID-19 and the exacerbation of their everyday insecurities as a result of the pandemic. Through interviews with various stakeholders and infographics about the data around houselessness, the film will also bring to light questions about who the city belongs to and who belongs to the city.
Puja teaches Political Science at Deshbandhu College for Girls (Calcutta University) and Rabindra Bharati University DDE (Postgraduation) in Kolkata. Earlier, she has also worked on research projects at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and the University of Birmingham to analyse everyday urban-centric issues in Kolkata. Puja holds an M.Phil. degree from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She did her Bachelor's and Master's degree in Political Science from Presidency University, Kolkata. Apart from an urban city-based developmental affair, Puja holds a deep interest in Indian Cinema, Gender and Politics.
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