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The Borderlands is a journey through India’s borders, starting with Bangladesh in the east and ending with Pakistan in the west. It is a journey to the farthest outposts of India, to her ungoverned spaces, to regions forgotten, governed by competing histories.
I began working on the Borderlands project in 2012 when I was a graduate student at Yale.
The Borderlands project is a trans-media production that will include a book and a web documentary that will allow the viewer to personally interact with the video, images, text and audio that we collect and create through this journey, juxtaposed over highly detailed maps.
The Journey so far
India has over 9,000 miles of land border and I have traveled over 2,500 miles through India’s border with Bangladesh, Tibet (China) and Burma along India’s North Eastern States covering Bengal, Sikkim, Arunchal Pradesh and Nagaland.
The funds raised will cover field work, research and shooting cost for three member team including myself, a videographer and a fixer. Cost include travel, visa costs, lodging, auto rental, crew meals, insurance, and equipment rentals for six months.
What I intend to accomplish
I need to return to India and complete the fieldwork over the next six months. Revisit locations in the North East, travel up north towards Ladakh region bordering China, and to Rajastan and Gujrat bordering Pakistan. Another eight months is budgeted for writing, editing, and post production.
"This looks great. But tell us more..."
In August 1947, British colonial rule in India came to an end. The event altered the course of history, modified the map of South Asia – butchering Bengal, Kashmir and Punjab, creating an epistemic fracture in human memory and identity. Out of this violence and human tragedy the Indian nation state was born. The new border created a volatile region that has experienced wars, border conflicts, rebellion, acts of protest and forms of everyday resistance. Here the world is not flat it is policed, patrolled, fenced and landmined.
What happens when an arbitrary border is imposed on people? What are the human and political consequences of a border ? There is a question of identity and citizenship, "who belongs and where ?".
It takes a village to make a kick-starter
Melissa Nicolardi gave this video its poetic soul and translated my words and ideas into a visual symphony. Through this process I got to know her as a passionate film maker, a dedicated educator and a wonderful friend.
The haunting sound track was made possible by Yasir and Jawad, the eclectic Pakistani musical ensemble, who combine traditional Pashto poetry with hard rock. Their music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. A special thanks to Jawad Iqbal of the ensemble for his music, friendship and always calling me "lady".
Risks and challenges
Traveling 15,000 km through the India's borders and remote regions by road is no easy task. The nature of this project, creates risks and challenges. The risks and challenges include but not limited to delays, due to the weather, travel permits, and vehicle breakdowns.
Parts of India we are traveling to are subject to earthquakes, flooding and cyclones.
Border areas in Manipur and Nagaland (border with Burma), are significantly affected by insurgency.
Border area between in Assam and districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri have recently experienced inter-communal violence.
If this campaign is successful, we would do everything possible to make sure the web documentaries, accompanying text and the images are on the web platform by September 2014.
Every effort will be made to deliver your rewards by August 2014, but please understand if unforeseen circumstances cause delays.
Additional information will be shared with the supporters over the course of the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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