ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Facing the Flood

A new bride experiences for the first time the floods in the flood-prone Kosi region of north Bihar.

As part of my research on the contextual vulnerabilities of historically marginalised communities in the Kosi sub-basin in north Bihar, I rely on oral history interviews as one of the means of data collection. I have been interviewing members of the Musahar and Mallah communities in the Darbhanga and Saharsa districts.

During the course of one of my oral history interviews with fisherfolk in 2017, I came across a respondent, a woman who was married into the flood-prone region of Kosi. This narrative is an account of her first encounter with the Kosi floods, how it changed her attitude towards life, and about what people living inside the Kosi and Kamala embankments go through during floods in the region. Her story tells us about the manner in which one feels overwhelmed with difficulties and trauma when confronted with a flood, especially if one does not hail from flood-prone areas. It also shows us how women in rural India face the consequences of displacement due to marriage, and how disproportionate distribution of environmental risks, due to floods in this case, could test and traumatise them even more throughout their lives.

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