Monday, 13 April 2015

When I was In New Tihri – Part 2

I move to bus stand and ask for bus. One guy tells me – you can get bus from Rishikesh. I went to Rishikesh and get bus. Though bus is AC but God please save me from this sort of AC bus. Anyways I sit in my seat and in a while bus get full and ready to go. Again a 25-26 years old guy sitting next to me. He is sort of chatty so he himself tells me that he work for ARMY and going Tihri to visit her sister in low. He share me about his family and also tells me that once his family lives in Tihri but when Tihri sink into water, because of Tihri Dam, they move out. With hidden tears and emotions he said– you know I still miss my village, my land, my house, my cattle, my childhood friends and everything. That day was a black day of my life when my village sunk into the water in the name of progress. He said – after this we move to Dehrdoon. He is looking out from window and I am silent…

Soon Narendra Nagar comes and he tells - Nrendra Nagar is now a big city because all government offices are migrated here. Bus is going through the jungle and he keeps telling about his service, his family and others. Many small settlements are on the way but after Narandra Nagar, Chamba is another big city where that guy had to go. He bade me goodbye and move out…




 After an hour or so I also reach New Tihri and my struggle start to find out hotel. Men, who also stop here, help me to find out hotel though he himself new here. We both ask from the locals and eventually find the hotel. I am tired so will take rest for 2-3 hours and then go to see New Tihri. In the evening manager told me that there is a Covered Market where I could go this time. New Tihri is new settlement which is replica of old Tihri. Old Tihri had a rich history but all has been sunk into the underwater…

Covered market is array of shops which are roofed but nothing new or exciting here. I feel this has become a gathering point for youngsters. Soon I went out to other market which is not covered. However this is newly developed city but I don’t find any signs which can show me that the city is newly made. It’s looking like a jungle of concrete buildings only…


I am walking alone and all eyes are at me awfully. Most of them are young guys who don’t have any work but to stare girls and make comments. Between the clusters of buildings I could see some temples which are also newly made. I want to see the architect and talk if someone would be there…      

I ask way for temple to a middle age man. He looks my camera then to me then point out the way and again look my camera and ask - Where you from and what you doing here ? Before waiting my reply he himself said – I think you are journalist and here to see the Tihri Dam. I think I find right person to talk about. So I said – Yes, I am here for Dam. Can you tell me anything about it...

He stare me bizarrely and put his head down after a while he put his head up and says – You would be interested into praises of Tihri Dam and I am a wrong person for this. He moves off. I almost scream and said – But I want to hear story of old Tihri and what people feel when the whole city submerged. He turns and says – Old Tihri was our Tihri. This new Thiri is not ours. I cannot connect with it. I still remember the day when my city sunk deep into the water of Maa Bhagirthi, tributary of Ganga, in the name of development. We were watching our land, our houses, our culture, our civilization, our history sinking slowly slowly. People are so blind for the development that they can’t feel our emotions and cry. If they could they can made a better development instead of this. He is crying and I only see him. Far away yellow building of watch tower is showing his presence but time has stop everything is still if any voice is there that was his cry. I have no words to console him so I let him cry. Don’t want to go temple now so back to room but his cry is still hovering into my mind…


Next morning I take bus for Tihri Dam. Old woman sitting next to me also belongs to old Tihri. She ask me – Where you from and where you going ?  I reply – I am from Nainital and going to Tihri Dam. She gives me strange look and says – Why you come here alone ?  you should get your friend with you. I smile on her innocent argument. She then says – There is nothing in Tihri Dam. That Dam is killer of my home and my mother land. She becomes angry and emotions start floating in her eyes and tears roll down on her cheek. But the man sitting in front seat tells me – It’s Sunday so you cannot go inside Dam. I say – I know but I am not here to visit Dam as a tourist. I am here to see the behind stories which are still unsaid and unravel.




Bus move forward and Dam Lake appear out of window. Suddenly I hear a whisper. Man sitting behind is muttering a song though I could not understand the words but I can feel the emotions which are nothing separate from others whom I am listening since yesterday. A vast new city is in front of my eyes. Everything is here but what about the emotions ? No one can answer this…

I reached to Tihri Dam Lake and take a walk till Dam. Gigantic lake is there which has swallowed an ancient and historical city. I can feel the cry, I can feel the hidden tears, I can feel the memories of the people and suddenly that bus guy that man that lady and that singing man appears on the lake and I am watching them sinking into water and hearing there cry but cannot do anything. I am so helpless…

I back to my hotel take bus and back to Dehradoon so that I can pick up night bus for Nainital. In Chamba I stuck in a big traffic jam. I must say development is doing great things. May be we should ready for next Tihri Dam…   


End

5 comments:

  1. Oh yes, pictures are so beautiful, loving them.

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  2. The dam and the surrounding nature are silent but have witnessed the local people’s heartrending sacrifice. Your travel was worthwhile sharing the emotions of the local people who had to leave their home village under the name of development of the country.
    Yoko

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  3. Beautiful shots of the place.

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  4. Such a sad tale.... So much of sacrifice and sadness for 'development'! Makes me angry!

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