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After the Deluge: Everyday Negotiations of Dard-Shina Tribe of Gurez Following Their Resettlement


· Vekar Mir Delhi School of Economics (Delhi, India)


07/28 | 16:30-16:50 UTC+2/CEST


Following the famous “dams as the temples of modern India” remark by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s mainstream ‘modernization’ paradigm has unquestioningly accepted the development imperative of the construction and proliferation of dams. This despite the growing evidence of discontent and vocal activism against the seemingly natural ‘dam equals development’ linkage exemplified by Narmada Bachao Andolan and such. While there is a plethora of academic expositions highlighting the dam-induced forced resettlement as a great humanitarian concern as also highlighting that the maximum brunt is borne by the most vulnerable social groups which disproportionately carry the burdens through loss of land and culture, there is a nagging lack of scholarly work on the everyday life and negotiations of displaced and resettled people in their new environs In this context, the specific interest of this paper are Dard-Shins – an ethnically and culturally distinct group from Kashmiris/Ladakhis and closer to the people of Gilgit and other regions of the Karakoram – with a distinct language Shina. The displacement of the majority of Dard-Shins from their home following the Kishenganga power project construction has been a subject of foaming debate for some time now but the debates, stories and studies stop short of how the group has negotiated and is negotiating its everyday life in their new urban settlement colonies. Based on the ethnographic study of the ‘new life’ in their changed ‘aab-o-hawa’, this paper aims to unravel the ways the Dard-Shins are reconstructing and redefining their lives vis-à-vis the rootedness to their ancestral land.