Documentary: “Project Kashmir”

“Project Kashmir” will air tomorrow night (Tuesday 10pm) on PBS: Independent Lens, which has become my top 3 favorite channel. I don’t watch much T.V., with the exception of PBS, CNN, Travel Channel, National Geographic once in awhile, when I can gather my self-diagnosed ADHD to relax & watch.

How many of you have heard of Kashmir?

I sure didn’t until my trip to India 2 years ago, when I was researching my Lonely Planet book on places I wanted to go in India. Most everywhere in India is safe to travel to, except with a big red flag warning sign to not to go to Kashmir, which is located at the northern part of India, bordering Pakistan.

Prior to 1947, before the British partitioned its colonial property (of the whole nation of India) into the separate nations of what became “Pakistan” and a smaller “India” that we know now. Kashmir was populated with mainly Muslims, but with a Hindu leadership which determined the state as the new India’s property. Conflict & war has been going on between India & Pakistan over this lush mountainous region since then. There are accusations that Kashmir has Oil that they are fighting over, along with the beautiful land.

This Documentary is about 2 women – both Kashmiri, but one’s parents from the Muslim side, the other from the Hindu side, who are good friends in the U.S. and decide to travel to Kashmir and unravel the truth on what is going on. From exploring the beautiful area, and people, to the hideous side of war, these women face challenges among their friendship during this journey.

I am really looking forward to seeing it in attempt to learn more about this tragic area, which seems impossible today to determine where it’s future lies. With an estimate of 40,000-60,000 civilians killed in this conflict, innocent lives murdered, raped, disappeared, what is the Answer?

Is there an answer, or a truth? There are Indian & Pakistani soldiers blasting at each other & at innocent lives, terrorists performing their usual uncanny acts of fatality. You ask the individuals what they want, of course the first answer is peace. But this war has also instigated religious wars among the Muslims vs Hindus over there. It’s all a big mess.

Watch it, and let’s discuss here what your thoughts are.

My TRAVEL STORY: When I was in Goa, India; I met a German girl who had been traveling by herself for a year or more. I forget exactly what the scenario was: either she accidentally got off a train in Kashmir, or someone recommended for her to go there. She arrived at this beautiful area, and spent a week there snowboarding, hiking, getting acquainted with the people. It wasn’t until she left Kashmir and started traveling other parts of India & shared her experiences, that she found out it was considered a “danger zone”. She had no clue when she was there about it’s history, but instead had the time of her life and deemed it the most beautiful place she’d ever seen.

Since then, I’ve been very curious & wanting to travel to Kashmir, as part of my next trip to India to explore the Northern parts. I’m not sure that I’ll be ballsy enough to do so, until when & if the conflict is over, but it’s certainly on my travel bucket list to go, including Afghanistan & Pakistan, which I also hear are beautiful places with sincerely wonderful people to meet.

I hope it will happen in my life time to see those places, not entirely out of vain & self-fulfilling purposes. But also for the hope that these places will become peaceful areas with no more war for their own people & this world.

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