Jammu’s borderlanders

Their lives parallel the ups-and-downs of relations between India and Pakistan – ruled by crossborder tensions, fears of militancy, and various forms of destabilisation. Many have lost property, ancestral lands and family members. Yet for those residing in the strife-torn border districts of Jammu, hope and diehard survival instincts compel them to continue trying to lead 'normal' lives.

Driving through the dusty villages of Jammu's International Border (IB) sector, one is struck by the remarkable serenity. As farmers cultivate their fields; tube wells spew water; women wash utensils or tend to cattle; and children play cricket and volleyball, this could easily be mistaken for bucolic Punjab. However, we are just a stone's throw from the IB, where tensions between the Indian Border Security Force and the Pakistani Rangers are constantly simmering.

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Himal Southasian