‘From Mangoes to Apples’: Exploring Belonging in New Tehri
When the Tehri Dam in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand submerged the town of Tehri, the locals found themselves turned into visthapit (the ‘displaced’). This new position, a consequence of dam induced displacement and relocation to new geographies, triggered recollections of their previous lives in Tehri. Often recalled as a local cultural centre for surrounding villages, the old town appears in daily conversations of its former residents. By discussing Tehri, the oustees return to a place they can now experience only tangentially. This article explores how displacement and belonging come to be expressed through a place that has no existing cartographic coordinates – a place living in memories. My ethnographic work in the town of New Tehri, a namesake built for the purpose of relocation, guides these arguments.
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