Dr. Riddhi Bhandari, Assistant Professor, Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities (JSLH), has been awarded a Junior Fellowship by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), a prestigious, autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
During her tenure at NMML (December 2021–2022), Dr. Bhandari will be working to complete her book manuscript, Risky Business–Entrepreneurial Risks and Everyday Life in a Tourism Market in Agra, India. Based on her doctoral research, Risky Business is an ethnography of entrepreneurialism in post-liberalisation India and marks the culmination of her research with Agra’s local and small-scale tourism entrepreneurs – tour guides, photographers, showroom and shop owners, budget-to-boutique hotels and restaurant owners and staff – among whom she has been working since 2012.
While at NMML, Dr. Bhandari will examine government and media documentation to trace the making of tourism as an economic sector during India’s economic liberalisation period, and factors specific to Agra’s economy – both push and pull – that created conditions for the popularity of tourism entrepreneurship as an avenue of economic participation in the city. Situated within this context, Risky Business, which Dr. Bhandari plans to complete as part of her fellowship, will examine the risks and opportunities that tourism in Agra presents for local entrepreneurs and their everyday negotiations of these, as they work the local tourism economy in search of upward mobility, capital (social, economic and financial) respect, and security.