Constructing National Belonging After the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan: a Case Study of Delhi’s Refugee Resettlement Housing

Author(s): Erin P Riggs

Year: 2019

Summary

This is an abstract from the "Exploring the Recent Past" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

In an increasingly mobile world, the places most central to peoples' identities are often modern and fluid, as opposed to fixed and related to historic origins. This paper discusses 1947 Partition refugee resettlement housing in Delhi which was an important site of national identity construction. Following Indian independence, the millions of refugees who crossed the border were headed towards an ideological homeland, but not a material home. Government resettlement schemes and the built landscapes they shaped demonstrate how rapidly understandings of who belongs can be reimagined and materialized. Refugees were given access to property and minimal accommodations designed to be improved and expanded by inhabitants through time. I present examples of how families have interacted with such government housing using photographs, floor plans, oral history accounts, and GIS maps. I argue that these alterable housing forms allowed refugees to feel like citizens and see themselves within their surroundings. 

Cite this Record

Constructing National Belonging After the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan: a Case Study of Delhi’s Refugee Resettlement Housing. Erin P Riggs. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449165)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 494