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Slow Boat to Oblivion: The Sinking of Tehri

Photos and text by Rajiv Nayan Bahuguna and Harsh Dobhal

In the midst of collapsed houses, corrugated surfaces, tangled wires and heaps of mud, loudspeakers from a dilapidated mosque blare out afternoon azaan. And as we enter the mosque, we meet 5-6 Muslim youth, all fruit vendors none of them a qualified maulvi, but all performing azaan as elders of the community have already been forced to leave this 189-year-old town. These youth are among the 107 vendors still waiting for compensation. The old Tehri town wears a desolate look. The post and telegram office is a tangle of wires, pipes and wooden planks, the famous sweet shop a mound of earth and the main bazaar a hamlet of broken buildings and mud.

On the periphery of the town we are greeted by ugly surgical scars on the face of the earth left by massive excavations and mounds of dug-up earth. And then there is this huge man-made monstrous mountain, the main wall of the 260.5-metre rock-fill dam, as huge as the natural mountains surrounding it. [more]



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