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Dancing with the RiverPeople and Life on the Chars of South Asia$
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Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt and Gopa Samanta

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300188301

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300188301.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Silent Footfalls

Silent Footfalls

Peopling the Chars

(p.98) Chapter 5 Silent Footfalls
Dancing with the River

James C. Scott

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the migration history of the chars and shows that people arrived on chars from different areas at different times. Both groups of migrants—Biharis and Bangladeshis—who live on the Damodar chars have a tradition of outmigration from their own lands. At present, the majority of char dwellers belong to the Bangladeshi Hindu community and these refugees were granted patta to settle on chars by the district government of Burdwan after the Partition. The char dwellers live in a hostile environment, coping with floods, using skills and resources they have learned over years of experience with this phenomenon either in Bangladesh or in India. Chars could be only one area where the lower castes settled on the Indian side of the border. Geography and history come together in exploring twentieth-century legacies of colonial rule and in viewing divisions such as the Partition as political solutions.

Keywords:   migration history, chars, migrants, Bangladeshi Hindu community, Partition, char dwellers, colonial rule

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