Heritage and the Politics of Culture
This paper analyses the inter-linkages between the spatial organisation of Kochi, transnational flows of Christianity and fishermen community. The common theoretical trope linking these three main categories of analysis suggests that they keep evolving in relation to each other (negotiated) rather than independently of each other. I analyse the happenings and narratives around post-independent India’s development initiatives as a site to understand how space becomes a crucial category in relation to the city and community. Specifically, I examine how establishment of the Cochin Shipyard Limited, a public sector company which builds and repairs ships, is entangled with stories of displacement of large numbers of the Latin Catholic community, some of whom were fishermen from the shores, to different parts of the city and its suburbs. Spatial arrangement and reorganization of the city holds within itself memories and lived experiences of the material and cultural development which communities underwent in relation to their religious and caste lives. The paper analyses these narratives of displacement and marginalisation while also investigating how this displacement produces a certain narrative of religion, cultural displacement and subordination. Other than the official records and archives, which provide a formal historical account of the city, the paper also uses memories and personal accounts as materials for analysis. This method is necessary to capture the affective manifestations of development beyond basic narratives of structures and economy.