Issue BriefsPublished on Jan 31, 2023 PDF Download
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Pathways to Gentrification in India: The Case of Patan

The concept of ‘gentrification’ has been studied extensively in urban agglomerations, specifically in tier-I and tier-II cities. ‘Gentrification’ is largely understood as the displacement of people belonging to certain classes in an area due to the influx of investment and affluent classes into that area. In India, settlements are based on religious and social vectors of caste, rather than economic vectors of class. With settlements divided on these vectors, does the influx of funds induce gentrification, especially in a tier-III Indian city? Given the country’s rich cultural heritage, does tourism influence the development and gentrification of a tier-III city? This report tells the story of Patan, a tier-III city in Gujarat, India. It examines the changes in migration, industrial growth, and settlement patterns in Patan, and finds that the city is showing early signs of gentrification, albeit in specific locations. While gentrification is often understood as the result of the act of investments in a historically disinvested area, Patan witnesses an inflow of funds due to the sentiment of ‘contributing to one’s homeland’.


Attribution: Ovee Karwa, et al., “Pathways to Gentrification in India: The Case of Patan,” ORF Special Report No. 208, January 2023.


Gentrification in India has attracted the attention of sociologists.[a],[1],[2],[3],[4] Much of existing literature, however, have studied tier-I and tier-II cities, leaving the tier-III[b] and semi-urban spaces unexplored. Moreover, settlements in India, especially those in tier-III cities are formed along religious and social vectors, rather than wealth, which is the traditional factor considered by scholars in studying the phenomenon of gentrification.

This report studies the case of Patan in Gujarat. It seeks to understand whether gentrification is taking place in a city identified primarily as a ‘religiously significant’ area and which receives heavy inflows of philanthropic donations. These donations come from affluent religious groups, particularly the Jains, who invest in the maintenance of religious symbols in the city (along with institutions of healthcare and education). It is an active hub for tourism, with the presence of a newly anointed UNESCO World Heritage site and a rich architectural, religious and cultural heritage of temples and monuments.

Defining ‘Gentrification’

The term ‘gentrification’ was coined by British sociologist Ruth Glass in 1964 to explain societal transformations that result in changes in settlement patterns.[5] London saw the first instance of the use of the term ‘gentrification’ in the late 1960s: working-class tenants were being displaced by middle-class people who owned property in the city.[6]

Existing studies in India that explore the phenomenon of gentrification have focused on its socio-cultural, political, and economic impacts. These analyses trace the wave of gentrification spreading from big cities and other urban agglomerations to tier-III cities with comparatively smaller populations. Studying gentrification in tier-III cities is a massive challenge, given their smaller populations, a dearth of data on per-capita incomes, population changes, migration patterns, and policies on housing.

About Patan

Located in the northern part of Gujarat, the district had a population of 1.3 million as of the 2011 Census. In 1997, the district of Patan was formed from parts of Mahesana and Banaskantha, comprising seven sub-district areas. With the new government headquarters, Patan started receiving more funds for  development-related work.[7] The presence of a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the stepwell, Rani ki Vav) has also added to the influx of people visiting for tourism purposes.

Patan was the capital of Gujarat around the 12th century and has a rich Jain heritage due to the patronage of Chalukya kings Siddharaja and Kumarpala.[8] Anahilvada, as Patan was earlier called, was known as a centre of trade, learning, and architecture under the Solanki rule between 942 and 1244 AD. The rulers were great patrons of fine arts and architecture and constructed various sites of religious and historical importance in Patan. It was also a thriving centre for Jainism. However, after this period, Patan experienced a steady decline and became a disinvested area.[9] The pattern shifted when Patan became a district in 1997.[10]

Rationale and Methodology

This report seeks to understand whether the changes in migration, industrial, and cultural patterns in Patan in the past two decades can be viewed as early signs of gentrification. The authors used both, secondary literature[c] on gentrification in India, particularly smaller cities, and primary research methods to explore whether Patan was beginning to be gentrified.[d] Specifically, this analysis aims to determine the role of the Jain community in the transformation of Patan.

Exploring the Early Stages of Gentrification in Patan

A. Demography and Migration

Patan is experiencing significant changes in its demography. The population of Patan district as per the 2011 Census data is 1,343,734—a 13.6-percent increase from the 2001 Census figures.

Figure 1. Decadal Population Growth (%) for Patan and Gujarat [1911 – 2011]

Source: Census Data (1901-2011)

Disaggregated by religion, Hindus comprise the largest group (89 percent of the total population); 9.91 percent are Muslims; and the Jains are the smallest at 0.26 percent.

Patan was once a ‘Jain Nagri’ or a settlement of Jains.[11] Over time, Jains started moving out of Patan and migrating to other places, particularly urban conglomerations such as Mumbai and Ahmedabad. In the 1930s and during the Second World War, many Jains moved back to Patan.[12]

Figure 2 shows the decadal population growth in the rural and urban areas of Patan and Gujarat. Between 2001 and 2011, the population growth rate for Patan district (13.6 percent) is lower than that for Gujarat (19.3 percent). This could imply out-migration from Patan to other locations within and outside Gujarat. In Patan, the urban population growth rate (17.9 percent) is higher than the rural (12.5 percent), likely implying rural-to-urban migration within the district. Meanwhile, in the entire state, the urban population growth rate (36 percent) is significantly higher than in the rural (9.31 percent), similarly indicating rural-to-urban migration. There is also a notable difference between Gujarat’s rural-to-urban migration and that of Patan.[13],[14]

Figure 2. Decadal Change in Growth Rate in Rural and Urban Areas [2001 – 2011]

Source: Census Data 2001-2011

The community in Patan who are the primary philanthropic donors, the Jains, have migrated out in large numbers (see Table 1).

Table 1. Growth Rate of Jains as Compared to the Total Population of the Patan district (2001-2011)

Source: Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, 2001 & 2011

Figure 3. Declining Jain Population in Patan District

Sources: Population Census Data 1981-2011. Jain Population: 1981- Patan Jain Mandal Residents list, 1991- Mahesana District Jain Data

After settling in a new city, the Jains continue to send remittances to their families who have stayed in Patan and they also fund schools, hospitals, temples and libraries in the city.[15]

The investment by the Jains in educational institutions, healthcare centres and temples leads to temporary in-migration. This is similar to the case of Jewish families that once emigrated to growing western countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, and are now investing back in Jerusalem. Similar to the Jews settled in the West, the Jains continue to invest in land and properties, with hardly any expectation of financial returns. Further, Kaur, Bansal & Solomon[16] show that in Indian cities of historic or religious importance, investments in real estate are driven by a sense of connectedness to a ‘holy land’ or one’s ‘homeland’. Field interactions revealed that while the Jain community may have emigrated to other locations, they continue to engage in philanthropic donations to Patan for the same emotional reasons.

Many men from Gulshan Nagar Society (a predominantly Muslim settlement) who have gone to other countries for employment send remittances home (Anonymous, personal communication, February 10, 2020). Other than the Muslims in Patan, the Patels have migrated to other countries (Europe and the US) and within India (Ahmedabad and Mumbai) in search of economic opportunities.[17] As their businesses flourish, they send remittances used for maintaining homes, building community centres like schools, clinics, recreational facilities, and temples. Like the Jains, the Patel community’s philanthropic initiatives also result in temporary in-migration.

Field interactions by the authors of this report, reveal that the Patels donate more in the ‘Panch Gaon’ region.[18] Most interviewees attributed the  philanthropic activities to the Jains rather than to the Patels. There is, however, no conclusive method of measuring their contribution in contrast to that of Jains. One way to quantify these contributions is measuring the preservation of religious and cultural heritage, which the Jains have done extensively with construction and maintenance of their temples. Jains aid in establishing and running free of cost health and educational facilities, too. To avail these services, individuals from the neighbouring villages and from other districts in Gujarat and Rajasthan move into Patan, contributing to temporary in-migration. 

Figure 4. Migration from Other States in India to Patan

Source: Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, 2011

B. Settlements

Market Spaces 

There are two markets in the heart of Patan: the old one, located at the centre of the city, and the new one which has sprawled over its periphery. While there are no definite segregations between the old and the new markets, the latter are mostly located near the railway station and Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University. The new market can best be described as being more ‘modern’: the shops sell western wear, has a variety of cafes and food shops, and the prices also tend to be higher. Based on interviews conducted by the authors of this report, the features of the new market are aiming to meet the changing preferences of the youth, including those who study in the nearby universities.

While most of the shopkeepers in the old market were originally from Patan, some of them come from nearby villages. When asked about migration, the shopkeepers said that Patan saw the influx of people setting up businesses and settling here, because, as a city it was better off than its surrounding villages.

The markets also have a number of hospitals, some of them offering specialised medical care. Indeed, Patan has long been known for its healthcare and medical services and is also home to medical education institutions.[19]

Jain Settlements 

The housing patterns in Patan are based on religion. The Jains and upper-caste Hindus reside in the centre of the city. Every Jain settlement or pol was designed to feature a gate with a ‘Gadhera’ which is used as a rest house for the pol watch guards constructed on top of it. Today, while the gates are constructed using different materials, the Gadhera remains untouched. Each Jain locality has at least three carefully planned temples built further inside the locality (M. Shah, personal communications, February 10 2020). The architectural style of Jain temples includes intricate carvings on walls and a Nandyavarta design, used as a settlement planning grid in the Vedic era.[20]

The architecture of the Jain temples has influenced Jain settlements wherein the wall carvings have been incorporated in housings. These temples are built by workers who come to Patan from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and are recruited for a period of two years. The Jain locality has an Ashrah Bhavan or a guesthouse to house these workers while they work on the temples.[21] The construction of Jain temples thus also facilitates in-migration.

Gulshan Nagar 

Gulshan Nagar is located in the south-west region of Patan. In Gulshan Nagar, Hindus and Muslims cohabitate and all housing is mixed at the periphery but as one goes inside, it becomes more Muslim-dominated.

The Gulshan Nagar settlement thins at its periphery into shops. Some of the shops were encroached to make roads a few years ago. These roads connect the settlements to Kalika Bazaar and Rajkavado road which are some of the busiest areas of Patan. People do not usually buy new land in Gulshan Nagar. There are a little over 60 mosques in Patan, which are often renovated. There is no evidence that new ones have been built in recent years.

The people in Gulshan Nagar observe that there is a lack of livelihood opportunities in Patan. Those who cannot find jobs migrate out, and the families of the men who migrate out stay back in Patan. Those who stay cannot find work. The women of most of the houses in Gulshan Nagar make ‘beedis’ at home. They also said that increased tourism since 2014, following the declaration of Rani ki Vav as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has not made a difference in employment or businesses in Patan.

The Gulshan Nagar settlement and the problems faced by the people who live there bring out a stark difference between housing settlements. The people in this area face water problems due to the high concentration of fluoride, and are mostly underemployed or do not work at all. Even as some mosques are being renovated, Gulshan Nagar has seen little investment which may lead to gentrification and eventually displacement. While the families receive money sent by people who have migrated out, it is mostly used for subsistence. Land ownership is mostly by the residents and hardly any property is for rent. This makes it harder for displacement to occur.

Settlements near Rani ki Vav

Situated close to Rani ki Vav, these are relatively new settlements emerging in the past seven years. These are gated communities where prices of land—which used to be agricultural—are far higher than those in the city. After the area surrounding Rani ki Vav was developed, some people who lived in the city centre shifted there, increasing the land value. An interviewee for this report who previously lived near Rani ki Vav said he had to shift from nearby settlements because the rent he paid for his dwelling was very high. The settlement is dominated by the Patels, and Hindus constitute a large part of the societies. When asked why they shifted, most of the interviewees said that they preferred the environment near Rani ki Vav to that of the old city of Patan and essentials like water were also in constant supply.

NRGs (Non-Resident Gujaratis), of which the Patels are a significant population, are known to have contributed to the religious, health, and education sectors in Patan.[22] They are described as a middle-ranking and upwardly mobile peasant caste with a strong sense of family and community. They make donations for the construction and maintenance of temples across Patan, and the construction of Hindu temples, particularly, has become a popular practice amongst NRGs. With the influx of philanthropic donations, the intention of community upliftment can be interpreted as a factor facilitating gentrification; although there is no significant in-migration, there is incoming capital being used for the upliftment of the general community.

Figure 5 tracks the increase in settlement housing near Rani ki Vav through the years. Settlements have increased in this area, especially following Rani ki Vav being named a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Figure 5. Changes in the Settlement Around Rani ki Vav (2014 to 2019)

Sources: Google Earth. (n.d.). Patan, Gujarat. Map Data © 2020. Google.

The growth in settlements around the area of Rani ki Vav can thus be understood as a function of increasing urbanisation. The movement is also a result of wealth flowing in from remittances from the Patels, with almost all the Patel households stating that they had at least one earning member in a metropolitan city or outside India. However, given strong religious undertones, the more affluent classes and castes are more likely to keep their family homes in the city on rent.

In conclusion, the areas near Rani ki Vav have seen massive changes in settlements. The houses in gated communities are not taken on rent, but mostly bought by the resident, affluent Patel and Hindu communities. Previously used for agriculture, this land is now being employed for construction of housing. This has caused displacement of people (particularly those engaged in farming and manual work) as rent prices increased. This could be seen as an early sign of gentrification.

Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University 

Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University (HNGU) was established in 1986.[23] The university, like many others in Patan, is funded by the Jain community of Mumbai. The Kilachand Devchand group, which is part of the Jain community in Mumbai, has funded the building up of KD Polytechnic college in Patan, while the S.K group which is a pharmaceutical company has also significantly contributed to the management department of HNGU. Thus, the Jains who migrated to Mumbai from Patan are the primary sources of funding that have helped transform Patan into a leading hub of education and medical facilities in the region.

Figure 6. (L) Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University in 2009; (R) in 2019

Sources: Google Earth (n.d.). Patan, Gujarat. Map Data © 2020. Google.

Figure 7. Development Plans for Patan (2010 and 2014)

Sources: Shah & Jain, 2020; Town Planning and Valuation Department, Government of Gujarat.

From the plans, it can be observed that settlements (in yellow) and commercial spaces (in dark blue) near Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University have increased. The area marked in white in the 2014 map is part of the development plans of the government.[24] Drastic changes are also noticeable in the north-west region near Rani ki Vav. The agricultural land (in green) has been replaced by housing (in yellow). This housing is the Rani ki Vav settlement discussed earlier.

According to the development plans of the government, heavy public investment is planned near HNGU by construction of commercial complexes, a primary school and playground, a local market, shopping centres, heath centres and gardens. On-field observation shows that this area had wider and well-maintained roads. This could be attributed to the presence of government offices and the University. This area, like the Rani ki Vav settlement is also far from the heart of the city. Commercial complexes and schools, local markets and public amenities like shopping centres and gardens may attract more investment and in-migration in the future. While an inference to gentrification cannot be made based on this development plan, it can be seen that the government is consciously trying to urbanise the area near HNGU.

There are wide differences in terms of livelihood and spatial structure amongst neighbourhoods visited during the primary research phase. There is a stark contrast between the settlements surrounding Rani ki Vav, government offices and the Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University and the settlements in the southwest of the city such as Rajkavado and Gulshan Nagar society, in terms of water quality and supply, general health of people and job opportunities. Water quality and supply seem to be ensured and maintained in a relatively affluent area that may experience gentrification (i.e., the settlements around Rani ki Vav and the areas surrounding Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University).

However, as reiterated while tracing the changes in all the settlements, residential areas in Patan (as is observed across India) are more dependent on religious, caste factors than solely class. Many affluent, upper-class religious minorities, particularly Muslims, are not sold flats in gated communities built by Hindus. The framework of gentrification in India must therefore take this residential pattern into account.

Conventionally, gentrification was understood as the ‘back to the city’ movement in the West, where the white, suburban class sought to revive the ‘decaying’ places occupied by lower middle class or poor people of colour in the cities, by ‘reclaiming’ the land previously inhabited by them.[25] Applying this framework will pose fallacies in studying gentrification in Patan. This is because in Patan, the shift of the Patels and Jains to the outskirts of the city (in Rani ki Vav and near HNGU) is due to rise in their income and the need to move away from the routines of the city to a more private space. However, their old homes inside the city are largely kept unsold or given on rent, to people who presumably will belong to the same religious, caste stature.

More importantly, the land which is written to be ‘reclaimed’ by the affluent classes in the West is marked with strong cultural and religious symbols in Patan. Residential settlements inside Patan continue to be marked by religion. Unless modernity in religion breaks the settlement patterns inside the heart of the city, there is no need for the ‘reclamation’ to happen. The heart of Patan city is yet to experience secular urbanisation in the first place, and the authors posit that it is unlikely to do so any time soon, given the massive philanthropic donations by the Jains to preserve their places of residence. The religious identity of the residential areas is also a hindrance to mass displacement of any particular community. Such displacements can be seen in slum rehabilitation drives in tier-I and II cities, but is unlikely to happen in Patan unless one community-area faces systematic disinvestment for a long period or encroachment on their area.

C. Industrial Development and Growth

Gentrification has affected the industrial framework of various cities by incentivising middle-class workers. San Francisco in the United States, for instance, underwent significant social, economic, and physical transformation by attracting cultural industries through its targeted policies.[26] Using quantitative analysis, William & Hartley (2014) observed the occurrence of gentrification, through rapid growth in the service sector accompanied by a decline in the manufacturing industry. They used a sample of 20 large central cities to support their claim that gentrification drives industrial restructuring by speeding up the transition from manufacturing to urban labour markets.[27] Another study in Brooklyn reports a similar phenomenon of deindustrialisation. With a rise in services-led jobs, the white-collar worker population was attracted to the inner city, and gradually gentrified the urban neighbourhood.[28] Thus, existing literature indicates industrial growth as an important determinant of gentrification.

D. Economy and Governance

The district’s tourism sector is one among those that have garnered significant investment. There are several tourist attractions, such as Queen’s Stepwell or Rani ki Vav, Sahastralinga Talav, and Panchasara Parasvanath Jain Temple. The Patola weave is also well-known in the area. The bulk of the district’s geographical territory (70 percent of total area) is cultivable due to soil features. However, Patan experiences modest rainfall, with an average of 500 mm over the previous ten years. Only 29 percent of net cultivated land is irrigated.

Patan is largely dependent on the primary sector for income generation, with approximately three-quarters of the total workforce employed in this area. Given the district’s low level of penetration in the manufacturing sector (7.23 percent employment creation vs the state average of 5.86 percent), it has the potential to become a sourcing hub for trained labour. While overall worker participation is somewhat higher than the state average, a high labour force in agricultural activities with poor output efficiency suggests underemployment.

Figure 8. % Distribution of Workforce in Patan District (2011)

At the same time, the combined district employment for Patan has increased from 118,740 in 1998 to 147,331 in 2005, to 242,403 in 2013. Although the absolute value of employment is less than that of the district average of Gujarat (211,196 in 1998; 369,548 in 2013) the growth rate of Patan has picked up pace and is higher than the State’s district average across both the time periods.

Figure 9. % Increase in Total Employment

It would also be useful to chart the evolution of urban government. Typically, the structure of administration shifts from panchayats to municipalities to municipal corporations as cities grow. In the case of Patan, governance has not seen any remarkable change over the years, with marginal rise in Gram Panchayats and none in Municipalities.

Figure 10. Number of Gram Panchayats and Municipalities

E. Commerce and Industry

There are two transportation routes that start from Rajasthan and which go towards the Kandla port. One port route goes via Limbdi which is a direct route. Goods that are being exported need a straight road and less time. The Limbdi route was popular, but it was crooked and took more time. The desert starts 30 km towards Rajasthan from the Patan side. The main problem is that the climate is not moderate, making it difficult to travel after noon when the temperatures rise. This has added challenges to Patan’s commercial development.[29]

Figure 11. The Route from Limbdi to Kandla

Sources: Google Maps (n.d.). Route from Limbdi to Kandla. Map Data © 2020. Google

The current and future development of industries in an area leads to a demand for skilled or unskilled labour force. This, in turn, affects the settlement patterns and demography of the region depending on the type of industry and the provisions that need to be made for the workers. Patan has numerous small agro-based industries. The Patan district is also home to the Charanka solar power plant, which was presumed to be an employment opportunity for the locals in Patan. However, upon speaking to the locals, these authors inferred that the plant has not had any significant impact on the development of the city or its residents.

The city of Patan is home to cottage industries like Patola sarees, Mashru weaving and clay handicrafts. It is also surrounded by many small and medium industries such as agro-based and textile. However, there is no major development with regard to heavy industries which involve large-scale production and require heavy transportation. This was largely due to the lack of proper roads to the nearby ports like Kandla.[30] Transport was also limited due to the restricted number of trains that were allowed to pass through the Patan railway station for fear of any structural damage to the Rani ki Vav. Lack of development could also be attributed to inadequate water supply to the sub-district areas for industrial purposes. Patan was also not part of the Golden Corridor of Gujarat (from Mehsana to Vapi) which was the focus for development of transportation and industries.[31]

When Anandiben Patel took up the post of Chief Minister, she commissioned the construction of a four-lane highway to the port of Kandla which made transportation of raw materials and finished goods easy. Investments in Bahucharaji and Ambaji, which are popular tourist places close to Patan, have also led to a rise in the value of land owned by the villagers on the outskirts of the city.[32] Meeraben Chetwani, who is part of a government panel that approves funds for developmental projects, has mentioned the possibility of an upcoming industrial belt in the region.

There has been a steady rise in Micro, Small and Medium enterprises in Patan mapping from 2006-07 to 2014-15, except for the fall in 2010-11. The number of micro units have increased from strength to strength from seven in 2006-07 to 113 in 2014-15. At the same time, the presence of one medium unit can be observed initiated in 2014-15.

Moreover, investment in these enterprises has also seen substantial growth from INR 1,729 lakhs in 2006-07 to INR 4,981 lakhs in 2014-15.

It is important to note that the MSME manufacturing units still depend primarily on Textiles & Apparel (43.6 percent) and Agro & Food Processing (30 percent).

Figure 12. Composition of Investment in MSME Manufacturing Units (2012-13)

At present, the industrial sector in Patan is still in its nascent stage. Steps are being put into motion to achieve progress, including improvements in water supply and transportation.

Key Takeaways

The phenomenon of gentrification can manifest in multiple ways and its causes and effects depend on the area that is being studied. In the case of Patan, there are multiple factors that could indicate early stages of gentrification: migration and the consequent demographic changes, industrial development, and evolving settlement patterns and cultural factors.

In order to evaluate the role of the Jain community, we consider an example of Jerusalem—a dynamic metropolitan space which is also experiencing gentrification. This is partly being caused by the investments and real-estate purchases by the affluent Jewish families that migrated out of Jerusalem a few generations earlier.[33] This is a curious case of gentrification, since the popular understanding of the term indicates that gentrification is caused by an affluent class migrating into a particular area such that this area is left unaffordable for the native inhabitants. Several examples may be cited of such gentrification.[34] But a newer understanding of the phenomenon indicates that gentrification can occur without the in-migration of an affluent class.

The Jews buy real estate without any expectation of financial returns. Is this the case with Patan?

The Jain community of Patan is an affluent class who have migrated to other locations in search of economic opportunity. Much like the Jews of Jerusalem, the Jains donate for philanthropic causes in Patan. They continue to hold their ancestral lands, and even purchase new homes. Jains offer donations to charitable trusts that build and run schools, hospitals, clinics, and even the Hemachandracharya North Gujarat University. Hence, studies regarding gentrification in India, particularly those which focus on migration need to factor in the religious and caste-based nature of settlements. Concepts such as gentrification would occur differently in cities like Patan, which have a very strong cultural significance for affluent communities.

Additionally, several sites of religious and historic significance pepper Patan’s map, such as the Sahastraling Talav, the numerous Jain and Hindu temples, and the Rani ki Vav. Patan is also well-known for its clay toys, Patola and Mashru weaves. The Queen’s Stepwell (or Rani ki Vav) is an architectural marvel and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. These events have led to an influx of tourists to Patan. However, tourists tend to make one-day trips since they visit only the Rani ki Vav. While the government has renovated the Rani ki Vav and its surrounding areas to make it more appealing and hospitable for tourists, the neighbouring Sahastraling Talav remains ignored. Subsequently, other cultural and heritage sights are often overlooked, and tourism-induced gentrification is unlikely to be seen.

The land surrounding Rani Ki Vav once belonged to farmers. Besides the renovated garden around the stepwell, these agriculture lands have been converted into zones for expensive and exclusive gated communities. Similarly, a significant portion of land for the prominent Hemachandracharya North Gujarat University was once used for agriculture. A majority of the university’s land was awarded as grant to a trust to build the university. This trust largely comprises Jains and the university is named after a revered Jain saint and scholar. Today, the university is a centre of learning for students from Patan, rural Gujarat, and Rajasthan.

However, Patan’s primary source of income continues to be agriculture, with a limited dependence on the manufacturing and the tertiary sector. While there has been an increase in the number of MSMEs, a majority of these enterprises deal in agricultural produce and textiles and apparels.

These factors only indicate that Patan may be showing early signs of gentrification in specific locations such as the areas around Rani Ki Vav and the Hemachandracharya North Gujarat University. Yet, it is difficult to make explicit conclusions owing to the paucity of quantitative data, the small size of Patan’s population, and the restricted sample size in the present study.

At the same time, these limitations do not diminish the contributions of this study. In the Indian context, there is hardly any discussion on gentrification in tier-III cities. Even in studies on gentrification in India, the conversation largely follows the commonly understood refrain of displacement of a disadvantaged community—this approach tends to overlook the complex migration history tied to most locations across the country. Finally, the common understanding of gentrification implies the purchase and use of real estate by the affluent class, but this study highlights that Watan na Prem or love for one’s homeland can drive communities to not only purchase but unilaterally invest in a disinvested area.

Scope for Future Research

For future exploration, government policies and their implications over time can be studied more deeply. This would bring out the nuances of the economic and social effects of government policies and see whether or not they lead to gentrification.

A particular question is related to the Charanka solar power plant in Charanka and the Suzuki Motor Gujarat Pvt. Ltd. plant in Bahucharaji and whether or not they have any effect on employment in Patan. In the long run, increased road connectivity to Bahucharaji may indeed bring employment to Patan. The effects of such changes in infrastructure and whether or not they make a difference in Patan can be studied in relation to gentrification.


[a] The concept of ‘gentrification’ was first observed in London and other cities in Europe but later diffused over to the Indian subcontinent. It is defined as the transformation of a lower-income class area of a city into a middle-class residential or commercial use space. Gentrification is largely understood by tracing the evolution of settlements and displacement of people belonging to certain classes in an area.

[b] Tier-III cities are characterised by marginally developed realty markets, businesses and other infrastructure, requiring investments and infrastructure for growth.

[c] These include reports from the Patan Statistics Office and maps and reports from the Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University.

[d] Informed consent was taken from every participant before conducting all interviews through a verbal or written account of the scope of the research. The sample included members of Hindu, Jain and Muslim communities, and were of varied white-collar and blue-collar occupations.

[1] Kumar, Ashok. “A framework for gentrification of Indian cities.” Institute of Town Planners, India Journal 11, no. 1 (2014): 19-32.

[2] McGaffey, Mary, and S. G. Vombatkere. “The Unsustainability of Gentrification in India: The Need for Sustainable Urbanization for People, not for Profit.” (2018).

[3] Walicki, Nadine, and Marita Swain. “Pushed aside: Displaced for “Development” in India.” Geneva: International Displacement Monitoring Centre (2016).

[4] Vidhate, Swapnil and Anupam Joya Sharma. “Gentrification and Its Impact on Urbanization in India.” World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Architectural and Environmental Engineering 4 (2017)

[5] Brown-Saracino, J. (2013). Gentrification. obo in Sociology. Oxford Bibliographies.

[6] Legg, Charles, and Judith Allen. “The Origins of Gentrification in London.” In History Workshop, pp. 164-166. Editorial Collective, History Workshop, Ruskin College, 1984.

[7] Government of Gujarat – Patan. (n.d). About District.

[8] Cort, John E. Jains in the world: Religious values and ideology in India. Oxford University Press on Demand, 2001.

[9] Gujarat Social Infrastructure Development Society (GSIDS). (2016). District Human Development Report: Patan.

[10] Government of Gujarat – Patan, “About District”

[11] Cort, “Religious values and ideology in India.”

[12] Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. (2011a). D-2: Migrants classified by place of last residence, sex and duration of residence in place of enumeration – 2011.

[13] Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. (2001). Final Population Totals – Tabulations Plan of Census Year – 2001. Census Digital Library.

[14] “ D-2: Migrants classified by place of last residence, sex and duration of residence in place of enumeration – 2011.”

[15] L. Visaria, personal communication, February 12, 2020

[16] Kaur, Taran, Sanjeev Bansal, and Priya Solomon. “The changing real estate investment dynamics in Indian holy cities: effect of spirituality on property buying behavior.” Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development ahead-of-print (2022).

[17] T. Chakrabarti, personal communication, February 11, 2020

[18] N. Patel, personal communication, February 13, 2020

[19] T. Chakrabarti, personal communication, February 11, 2020

[20] R. Jain, personal communication, March 11, 2020

[21] P. P. Shah, personal communication, February 9, 2020

[22] Rajput, Hetal G. “Contribution of NRGs to the Development of North Gujarat”

[23] Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University. (2015). Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University.

[24] Science and Technology Park, Pune, Government of India (n.d.).

[25] Hyra, Derek. “The Back-to-the-City Movement: Neighbourhood Redevelopment and Processes of Political and Cultural Displacement.” Urban Studies 52, no. 10 (2015): 1753–73.

[26] Gainza, Xabier. “Culture-led neighbourhood transformations beyond the revitalisation/gentrification dichotomy.” Urban Studies 54, no. 4 (2017): 953-970.

[27] Lester, T. William, and Daniel A. Hartley. “The Long-term Employment Impacts of Gentrification in the 1990s.” Regional Science and Urban Economics, vol. 45, 2014, pp. 80-89. doi:10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2014.01.003

[28] Curran, Winifred. “Gentrification and the nature of work: Exploring the links in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.” Environment and Planning A 36, no. 7 (2004): 1243-1258.

[29] Sharma, M. NOC for renovation of abandoned Railway Line near World Heritage site Rani Ki Vav recommended only as permissible under rules and guidelines. Press Information Bureau. (2015)

[30] M. Chetwani, personal communication, February 13, 2020

[31] M. Chetwani, personal communication, February 13, 2020

[32] M. Chetwani, personal communication, February 13, 2020

[33] Zaban, Hila. “The Effects of Lifestyle Migration of Jews from Western Countries on Jerusalem, Israel.” Two Homelands 42 (2015): 55-66.

[34] Brown,W. (2017). Ragpickers and camembert: Delhi’s divisive gentrification. CityMetric.

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