BHUJ, INDIA

POST-DISASTER

POST EARTHQUAKE CITY OF BHUJ IN GUJARAT, INDIA

Kutch Mitra newspaper archive

EARTHQUAKE

The Kutch, or Gujarat, earthquake on the 26th of January in 2001 left the district capital Bhuj and the most Western district of the State of Gujarat in India, Kutch or Kachchh, devastated. Yet, the earthquake recovery in Gujarat, is often popularised as a success story: an economic miracle and rebirth of Kachchh as a popular tourism destination, but also, a model for Indian, and international, disaster management architecture.

RESEARCH

This research combines analysis of humanitarian aid, urban ethnography and life historical perspectives in the city of Bhuj. It focuses on how one of the temporary relocation sites has both reiterated and accelerated the existing pre-earthquake caste and socio-economic discrimination, inequalities and segregation.

The past twenty years have transformed the relocation site into a permanent displacement for some of its residents and it also offers low-threshold residencies for inter-state seasonal labourers and migrants from drought-affected areas of Kachchh searching better lives in Bhuj. The research asks how residents and their families manage and make sense of their everyday lives in the post-disaster city, and the changing society and political ecology around them.

ગુજરાતીમાં પરિચય

VIDEOS

”As soon as I stepped out of the house, in the morning of the 26th January in 2001, the earthquake happened. Everything was collapsing”. Listen to Daud, a reval horse trainer, to explain his experiences of that morning.

During our research, we’ve learned that instead of an empty wasteland or jungle, the area now known as Hangami Awas, or temporary residency, has a long history and significance for the people in the surrounding areas. For example, already for 39 years, an annual procession has been held at Gebansha saint shrine.

”All the people who are coming here with any sickness, Gebansha blesses them with health. He is holy, mysterious saint. Everyone gets their health back here”.

Join us for a motorbike ride to Awas through the industrial area of the city of Bhuj.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RESEARCH

We are a team of two: Dr. Marjaana Jauhola (University of Helsinki) and Kutch-based co-researcher Shyam Gadhavi.

Since January 2001, researchers and service provider organisations have conducted numerous household surveys in the neighbourhood. To the point, that residents have questioned their benefit to their lives. Any newcomer to the neighbourhood is asked if they will be conducting a survey to help the residents to be on the future beneficiary lists of new housing projects. In this video Marjaana and Shyam discuss the impacts of the surveying and unmet housing promises to the wellbeing of the residents, and, feasibility of research in the area.
Watch this video: From Hangami (Temporary) to Permanent

Throughout the research we have documented everyday life in the neighbourhood, participated in events such as religious festivals and processions, and used transect walks to talk about the rich history of the neighbourhood since the Maharadja times. Getting to know the horse trainers in the neighbourhood also allowed us to learn about their uses of the land, but also Reval races, and the relationships between the trainers and the horses. Watch two videos: Horse training and Dancer

During the research process, Dr. Jauhola has been affiliated with the Sociology Department of IIT Delhi (2017), and Jamsetji Tata School of Disaster Studies of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai (2018-20). These collaborations have led to joint teaching and research seminars, joint publications, and long-term plans for multi-campus collaboration, including with the Bhuj-based KSKV Kachchh University on climate and disaster justice themes.

To mark the twenty years of commemoration of the 2001 earthquake, we are planning a multi-sited events to share the research results around 26 January 2021. More information to follow later in 2020.

Jauhola, Marjaana, Niti Mishra, Jacquleen Joseph & Shyam Gadhavi (forthcoming) “Recovery (after Catastrophes)” in Situating Sustainability: A Handbook of Contexts and Concepts, Parker Krieg and Reetta Toivanen (eds), Helsinki University Press.

Continue to Marjaana Jauhola´s homepage and find links to all of her publications: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/marjaanajauhola/