Highlighting climate change

  • Kashmir Ink
  • Publish Date: Jan 21 2018 9:27PM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Jan 21 2018 9:27PM
Highlighting climate change

Global Warning - Kashmir Chapter (GWKC) won the 2nd Best film award (Silver) in Long Unit film Category at world’s prestigious film festival on climate change by advocacy group (Handle Climate Change Film Festival at Shenzhen, China). 

Only 65 films among 1254 from among 93 countries made through jury process for second round and only 26 films for the 3rd and the final round.  Global Warning - Kashmir Chapter will also be screened across the metropolitan cites of China. 

The documentary narrates the story of three progressive Kashmiri farmers and the diminishing returns from their respective crops of cherry, saffron and almonds. 

In an interview to Kashmir Ink, its maker Jalal ud Din Baba talks about his documentaries GWKC and Saving the Saviour. He says the fast melting glaciers due to the rising temperatures and anthropologic interferences, now pose a serious threat to ecology in Kashmir.

Tell us about the three farmers in your documentary Global Warning - Kashmir Chapter 

One is Samad Khan, 76, a Pashtun, whose father at the advent of 20th century migrated from KPK Pakistan to Kashmir in 1912. He saw the climate in Kashmir suitable for farming and settled for life amidst the glacial troposphere. Besides getting the permanent citizenship, political rights he inherited large swaths of barren land. Once he saw the rising sun flash its first rays on this plateau he didn’t waste the time and made the mark.

However, today Samad Khan, is at the cross roads of dismay. Not because of political conflict of Kashmir but because of the changing climate.

Mohammad Shafi, 68, went step ahead and started to grow Almonds on his 20-acre land orchid. He changed his family fortunes for the better, but the dilemma of erratic climate change, glacial meltdown, climbing temperatures and acute water scarcity, is forcing him to think again.

Haji Abdul Aziz, 75, grows saffron and almonds. He cultivated duals crops but now the equation has changed. 

 

What motivates you to do documentary films on environment?

I come from a very humble background from village Adipora in Sopore. It is located on the banks of mighty Wular lake, but unknown to authorities, planners, unattended and bereft of basic facilities. Wular is in my blood. In fact I have lived Wular and have been brought up on its bounties. Our drinking water in Sopore comes from the lake.  I have seen how people from my village and other habitations stretching up to Bandipora draw their livelihoods from Wular. So caring for Wular comes naturally to me. A village boy trying his ability to turn as a saviour of sorts by highlighting the issue nationally and internationally. 

I am fascinated by the water as a bounty without which life is practically impossible and unimaginable. I am trying to make films which reach maximum number of people and force introspection. 

 

Tell us about your film Saving the Saviour and protagonist boy Billa?

It was by chance. I met him while he was collecting trash from Wular. He said it was his livelihood. He told me his story. It was tragic. He was the only bread earner  after the death of his father. And he fed his family from the trash collected from the banks of Dal and therefore, in the process helping clean the lake.  

 

How much time did you spend in Wular shooting the film?

I spent two and a half years on the story.  It was challenging to shoot the movie. We followed the boy on his daily walks around the Dal. It was not only about capturing his work but in the process reflecting the  pathetic plight of the lake.  

The documentary casts a much needed spotlight on the degradation of Wular. 

What Nile is to Egypt, Wular is to Kashmir. Billa’s Wular Lake is a world heritage wetland site under the Ramsar Convention charter of UNESCO.

 We need films to focus attention on the lake’s degradation. Almost around 80,000 people directly or indirectly are benefitted by the Wular. Be it fishing, lotus harvesting, sand extraction or willow plantation, people  derive their livelihood from the lake. Wular’s flora and fauna is an essential part of our ecological balance. And this is not to ignore its great tourism potential. So, my film was an attempt to spotlight the deteriorating condition of the lake through a powerful visual story.