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Darjeeling ReconsideredHistories, Politics, Environments$
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Townsend Middleton and Sara Shneiderman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199483556

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199483556.001.0001

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Connection amidst Disconnection

Connection amidst Disconnection

Water Struggles, Social Structures, and Geographies of Exclusion in Darjeeling

(p.219) 10 Connection amidst Disconnection
Darjeeling Reconsidered

Georgina Drew

Roshan P. Rai

Oxford University Press

Darjeeling residents face regular water stress despite a high annual amount of rainfall and an abundance of nearby springs and lakes. This chapter examines how the struggle for water manifests in the everyday lives of Darjeeling residents who come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and live in a range of geographical locations within the burgeoning tourist town. The text explains who is connected to municipal waters, who is not connected to them, and how a physical disconnection to municipal water supplies fosters abjection along with social affinities that can lead to productive adaptations. Emphasis is placed on how support systems, such as social collectives known as samaj, have begun to address the structural inadequacies of the municipal water supply system. These decentralized efforts are promising, but they also speak to the wider geographies of exclusion prevalent in Darjeeling—a town that is spatially marked by extreme contrasts between wealth and poverty.

Keywords:   water, social networks, identity, postcolonialism, infrastructure, decentralisation, geographies of exclusion and inclusion, resource management

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