Tehri Dam Induced Eviction of Old Tehri: Memory and Narrative of Resistance and Belonging

Ruchi Rana (Department of Modern Indian Languages & Literary Studies, University of Delhi)

Forced migration and development-induced eviction are recurrent tragedies of our times. From it grows an experience that complicates historical past as well as present of the affected place and evicted people. In the case of the tallest dam in India, the Tehri Dam, there is an underlying paradox confronting its construction that places the supposed narrative of development in antithesis with the coerced displacement it caused. The paper explores the interwoven areas of memory studies, place-lore, and identity from a cross-disciplinary perspective. The attempt is to provide insights into the long-held resistance movement and trace the direct consequence of the physical death of Old Tehri. This will be accomplished by critically analyzing the role of memory, narrative, and identity in conflict. It focuses on the trauma arising with loss of intangible heritage and values attached with the place, of nostalgia and belonging following the distressing circumstances.

Part of 09-10 Place and Memory, Saturday, October 15, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm