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CMS VATAVARAN 2019 Nomination Series: Mountain of Humanity​

The great Himalayas are a range containing snow-capped peaks; however, these are melting at a rapid rate due to global warming and climate change

So far, this has already resulted in floods, landslides and other natural disasters.

The upper reaches of the Kashmir region in India contains one of the greatest concentration of glaciers and most of the largest ice masses.

With increasing pressure from human activity and scant planning these glaciers are at risk from climate-change impacts.

This film alludes towards a need for developing a better understanding of the glacial environment of the Kasmir region and underscores emerging concerns about the High Asian cryosphere and the fate of its glaciers.

Mohammad Jan (72) is an elderly Gujjer-Bakerwal patriarch. Gujjer’s are nomads traditionally and raise cattle for earning. These nomadic shepherds migrate from one pasture to another.

They inhabit Himalayan Mountains of Kashmir enroute to Holy Amarnathji Cave in summers and move to the hilly areas of Jammu in winters. The area gets more than 20 feet of snow with freezing temperatures below – 40 degree Celsius..

Besides grazing their sheep and goat, these Shepherds lend their hand in completing the Yatra. Palkhimen or Ponymen on your side, one is always sure of his safe journey. Tired shoulders and breathless pants depict the labour and contribution of the Palkimen as the Holy journey completes its period. They have become the physical and spiritual partners to the devotee’s prayer.

But then there is a paradox, as the Yatra assumed political texture, tens of thousands of Yatri’s poured in and out, numbers touched seven lac (2011). Therefore the Yatra period too got extended from one month to two months. Thus started the battle of survival and death (environment concentration). The virgin glaciers, mountains, rivers, lakes and streams started to diminish. Nobody bothered about the consequences, but it was all about the numerical.

These Himalayan glaciers enrooted to the Holy Cave are loosing the battle now. Meltdown is thick and fast; hardly any glacier lasts long enough till the journey is over. They vanish by the middle of the Yatra. People associated with the journey for more than ten years are amazed and reasonless, what is happening around them? What they were used to see earlier, is the thing of past. Thus the main fresh water sources of Kashmir from south to north are challenged.

Time is not so distant when these Himalayan giants will turn ugly and start to show their might and wrath. Thus paving the way for coming battles in times ahead. Although Kashmir floods 2014, already played havoc with the people of Kashmir. Inundating colonies and villages alike, raising entire habitations to the ground, shattering properties and commercial hubs, schools and hospitals. Putting life out of gear for more than a month. Those were the signs and symptoms of environmental disaster we are headed for. And the nipping point is fast melting glaciers high in Himalaya’s.

Photograph Courtesy-

Jalal Ud Din Baba



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