Swati Janu

Social Media Research Workshop, August 12, 2016


As part of the third and final cycle of Sarai’s Social Media Research Fellowship, since March this year, short-term research fellows have been studying different aspects of digital and social media. On Friday, 12 August, 2016 we are organising a workshop for the fellows to present and discuss their research with a select group of discussants. Limited seats are available to take part in the workshop. To register, please fill up this…

Daily Mobile Recharges to Water Tankers: Deconstructing the Infrastructure of Insecurity


Packets of Diamond chips strung from store fronts are a common sight in Delhi’s peri-urban areas like Savda Ghevda or its dense informal settlements, but not in its formal colonies where larger brands such as Lays chips are found instead. The ‘pocket internet’ that thrives on small data recharge amounts for mobile phones that my previous posts have covered is marketed similar to the ‘sachet marketing’ of Diamond chips. Moreover, economic trends indicate that at least in rural India, these small but regular amounts being spent on internet have even begun to eat into the profits of consumer items such as chips and cold drinks…

Mapping Sharing Networks and Cyber Corners in Informal Settlements


I missed it the first time I passed by it. As if by Rowling magic, the game parlor appeared before me the second time I looked for it because this time I knew where to look, thanks to the two boys who enthusiastically kept pointing at it from their end of the street. One moment I am in the narrow, sunny lane of the Bhoomiheen camp in Govindpuri and the other, in a dark and dingy room filled with young boys exchanging expletives who are as surprised to find me in the midst of them as I am at first. After convincing them I am not lost, I am able to strike up a conversation with them on their favorite games…

Data, Downloads and Gaming Dens: Digital Networks in Informal Settlements


My research over the last few weeks has dealt with exploring the networks of digital consumption in two of Delhi’s informal settlements – Govindpuri and Sundernagri. Both are JJ clusters[1] or squatter settlements[2] that sprang up in the 1970s, along what were then the fringes of the city, around the time of the Emergency[3] when mass slum clearing operations were undertaken. Personal accounts in my interviews have revealed how the lives of many of the residents there were directly affected by two major projects undertaken by Sanjay Gandhi [4]. The first was the ‘city beautification’ program that led to the eviction of thousands of families in JJ clusters and the second was the ‘population control’ program implemented through mass sterilizations, which were forced in many cases…

10 Rs Recharge: Incrementality in Digital Consumption within Informal Urban Settlements


Though bereft of basic facilities such as sewage system or water supply, informal settlements in Indian cities have been rapidly permeated by networks of digital technology and media infrastructures. The highest internet usage here is through mobile phones – enabled by the rapid penetration of low-cost smartphones and low tariffs.[1] The digital consumption in terms of data recharge or offline media purchases is largely incremental with daily recharges of Rs 10 – 30 instead of larger amounts over longer periods. This incremental nature of digital consumption is inherent to informality…

Short Term Research Projects in Social Media: Selected Proposals 2016


The Sarai Programme is committed to developing a public architecture for creating knowledge and creative communities. In keeping with this commitment, we seek to develop a community of scholars, writers and practitioners who are motivated to make the materials and outcome of research available for public access and circulation, with the understanding that an imaginative… Read More