This book could be written because of many people in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, who welcomed me into their lives and shared their stories. I thank all of them, particularly Roshan and Yasin Vahora; Abedaben Vahora; Minaz Pathan; Rahila, Selma, and Bibi Vahora; Suhanna and Rukhsar Pathan; Ilyas Vahora; Mansurisir, Subhan, Sajid, and Tanzima Vahora; Asif Thakor; Ayub and Ishaq Vohra; Hifzur Rehman; Rashid, Salim, and Mohammed Vohra; Dr. Gulamnabi Vahora; Yusuf and Mumtaz Bora; Dr. Parvez Vora; Firoz Vohra; and their families.
The research was conducted in two phases. The first phase (2010–2016) was conducted as a project within the Provincial Globalisation research program, hosted at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam and the National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore, and funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO/WOTRO). The second phase (2017–2019) took place during fellowships at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) at Leiden University and the University of Tübingen, with travel funding by the Asian Modernities and Traditions fund at Leiden University (AMT) and the Moving Matters research group at the University of Amsterdam. The Open Access publication of the book was made possible by the Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna.
The person who introduced me to central Gujarat is Mario Rutten, whose lifelong commitment to regionally rooted yet transnational ethnography proved contagious. Between 2007 and 2011, Mario and I collaborated with Isabelle Makay to make the documentary film Living Like a Common Man, about Gujarati youth in London and their parents in Gujarat. After I joined the Provincial Globalisation research program in 2010, I developed my own line of research in Gujarat, with input from Mario, Carol Upadhya, and many other scholars and colleagues. Very sadly, Mario fell ill and died in 2015.
During the second research phase, the IIAS and the University of Tübingen provided a highly supportive academic climate in which I could conduct further fieldwork and write this monograph. At IIAS, I thank Nira Wickramasinghe, Sanjukta Sunderason, Erik de Maaker, Ward Berenschot, Luisa Steur, Tina Harris, Britta Ohm, Priya Swamy, Roshni Sengupta, Bindu Menon, Erica van Bentem, and Philippe Peycam. In Tübingen, I thank all the members of the Anthropology Department, especially Karin Polit and Eva Ambos. My writing buddies included Radhika Gupta, Raheel Dhattiwala, and, especially, Willy Sier.
In the revision phase, Rosanne Rutten was the first to read the entire book. She responded with substantial comments on each chapter. Anand Yang invited me to the book writing workshop of the American Institute of Indian Studies and the American Institute of Pakistan Studies at the South Asia Conference in Madison, where I received further comments on some of the chapters. Chritralekha Manohar and Carole Pearce helped to prepare the manuscript for review, and Lorri Hagman directed the peer review and editorial development process. I thank them all for their generous input.