Legacies of post-colonial internal migration in coastal India-the case of Udupi

Vidya Rao, Rama Devi Nandineni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Mainstream narratives in Indian history do not delve into the checkered history of the west coast. The reasons for this are many, including a predominantly center-outwards viewpoint of historians. West coast has always been open to sea route influences aiding its diversity. However, the lack of natural defense against colonizers from the sea destroyed indigenous and personal heritage. Small town narratives include uprooting, lack of access to past heritage and new settlement creation. The heritage of this everyday landscape shaped by human grit is the subject of the study. Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative ethnographic study includes document analysis, transect walking, architectural built form study, open interviews and participatory observations. Findings: The motivations for heritage management can be grouped into economic, cultural and technological. From a financial point of view, the urban core studied is still relevant and sustainable. Likewise, the Krishna temple dominates the cultural discussion and architectural documentation as a religious center. However, the cultural heritage of business streets and the third motivation of building technology have been largely ignored. This disregard is evident from neglect and the pastiche use of monumental or ornamental styles alien to the region for restoration efforts. Social implications: “Heritage is personal and individual as well as collective and universal” (Mire, 2016). The Pete heritage is not just crucial for the communities they house but the town as a whole. Their nonimpervious nature means that they hold collective memories for everyone. Attention to memories and monuments will increase the possibilities of shared responsibility between various stakeholders (Swenson et al., 2012). Therefore, they should be seen as a part of the larger whole. Originality/value: This paper argues for the recent global bottom-up approach in heritage management rather than the conventional established practices. Established heritage management focuses on the mainstream, royal or specific ethnic heritage in the Indian subcontinent. The heritage of the common person rarely has the grandeur of monumental architecture taken up for preservation by the state. As a result, societies' individual and collective heritage are at risk of rapid erasure under the pressures of modernization. Built forms are repositories of cultural information; therefore, a sustainable instrument for the preservation of everyday heritage can be created with culture as an actuator. This study looks at the narrative of the historical coastal small-town business core created by internal mass migration due to colonization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Conservation
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Urban Studies


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