Sunday, 19 June 2011

Uttarakhand knows the pain of displacement

Written by Anil Singh

Yesterday I got an opportunity to watch a documentary titled "Leaving Home: The Life and Music of Indian Ocean". The documentary which released in April 2010, is about Indian Ocean, an Indian pop group, how it was founded, the difficulties the group had to face and how they kept walking, over coming all obstacles. The documentary or movie whatever one wishes to call it, is very interesting, do see it, if you have the opportunity to.

But why am I sharing with you the said movie, in a blog which is about Uttarakhand?

My aim is not to bring home the point that there's a movie made on Indian Ocean; nor it's to convey that the documentary is quite watchable; although that can't be denied.

The aim is to bring to our consciousness the "pain of displacement".

Amit kilam, the drummer and vocalist, in the Indian Ocean band; was born in 1973 in Kashmir. A Kasnmiri pandit, Kilam's family moved to Delhi in 1982. The family had seen the difficulties and emotional turmoil, a displacement brings like no one. At one point in the movie, when Amit was asked, "Does he still harbor grudge of being displacement from the land of their fore fathers?" ; he says, although the hard feeling will always be there; he doesn't want that feeling to result in violent conflict between people. For him, the fact that there is no violence between the two communities is a bigger satisfaction.

Kilam's response to the displacement question, rightly conveys the "pain of displacement"; which remain with a person up-rooted all his/her life. A pain which is unconnected of the mode that effected the displacement. Displacement in itself is painful.

Amit's words may touch countless people of Uttarakhand; who although voluntarily migrated to regions hundreds of miles far; for better education, employment and life comforts; but still harbor a guilt that they left the land of their fore-fathers at the mercy of nature; which turns into ruins with every rainy season.

The most recent memory of 'major displacement' in Uttarakhand; an uprooting which can rightly be called a 'displacement' happened in the Tehri Garhwal district of the state. The massive Tehri dam's reservoir submerged many villages and the old town of Tehri, founded by King Sudarshan Shah in 1803.

Those people whose villages got submerged, were rehabilitated in foothill regions of Rishikesh, Hardwar, and Dehradun region. The agricultural and residential lands allotted by Government to the displaced; may appear sufficient to many; but as Indian Ocean drummer says -- the grudge or the sense of insufficiency always remains. Not to mention the difficulties displacement brings with it.

Talking of emotional trauma, people who had spent their childhoods in the submerged villages or Old Tehri; and have now built houses in the alloted plots; still talk about the time they spent in there. Taking cue from the existence of such longing; hundreds of songs recreating the nostalgia of old Tehri times; have done great business.

Talking of real issues of displacement; the displacement has hit hard especially those people who were not in some organised sector employment in their ancestral villages; and were primarily practicing agriculture and husbandry; dependent on their lands, and village pastures. Once displaced, these people have to start their lives afresh.

The pain of displacement, can be felt by the person who gets displaced. As he/she is the one who has to move on. And as Amit kilam's words indirectly point to -- It needs more than Land and Money to start afresh.

0 constructive comments: