Attachment and Displacement: The Resettlers of Bhakra Dam are Hurt
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- Pirta, R.S., Chandel, N. & Pirta, C. Psychol Stud (2014) 59: 1. doi:10.1007/s12646-013-0211-0
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Dam-induced displacement and resettlement pose a major challenge. A peasantry in the western Himalayas displaced nearly 50 years ago due to the Bhakra Nangal Project, still has strong attachment to its lost home. The resettled peasants recalled significantly greater number of memories of the lost home in comparison to the normal peasants. Bowlby’s attachment theory suggests that unwilling separation from secure habitats of human living cause long-term changes in cognitive schemas of memory. A serendipitous finding of the study is greater overall retrieval of the memories of loss of home among the displacees by scripts of low and high anger, indicating a low threshold for such provocations due to hurt feelings. We suggest that policy makers show sensitivity to these negative feelings and plan a secure base for displacees in line with the principles of attachment theory.