FRONTLINE/WORLD . flashPOINT . Kashmir - A Troubled Paradise . PBS


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Editor's Note: A photograph in this presentation shows a Kashmiri resident holding his blood stained hands to his chest. His injuries were the result of self-flagellation performed by Shiite Muslims on the Day of Ashura, which commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Reaction

RAVI KUMAR ( Nesara ) N
BANGALORE / BENGALOORU, KARNATAKA, ( INDIA )

First, I would like to say thanks to Ami, who has done an excellent job here and we have seen the real Kashmir from the wonderful pictures, which are very rare to seen. The heaven on the earth ( Kashmir ) is the crown of India, wherein it is needful to establish the peace and remove voilence. The nature is suffering from the militants bad attacks and army's gun point.

a_ jiskani
karachi, sindh

Kashmir should get independence. Beautiful, heart-rending images. This is a great site on Kashmir. Thank you.

Nitin Pandey
Dehra Dun, Uttaranchal

Excellent piece of work. Wish there was a way out of the mess. Granting independence to Kashmir seems so easy to lay people but is very complex and unworkable in the real world. The problem is one created by Pakistan by sending its tribesmen into Kashmir in 1947 and trying to annex it to Pakistan. If they had not tried to do that, today the whole of Kashmir including Askai Chin, could have been an independent country. But alas, history is history and cannot be undone. Wish we could get this problem solved and allow happiness to prevail all over the Indian Sub continent.

Ahamd noori
danbury, connecticut

The Kashmir issue is very complicated but ultimately the people who suffer are the Kashmiri people. India and Pakistan should work together with strong involvement from the U.N. They should work toward a refrendum on what the Kashmiri people want. But first it has to be under U.N. control for at least a decade so that neither Pakistan nor India have undue influence over the local population. This is the only way the people of Kashmir can stand up and decide on what kind of government they would like to have, self rule, part of Pakistan or part of India. If they choose self rule, then all major powers should guarantee (Pakistan, India, China, USA, EU, Russia) Kashmiri self rule and the U.N. should withdraw at that moment.

(anonymous)
As a Kashmiri who was born and brought up in Kashmir, I must say that Kashmir and Kashmiris have suffered a lot during past 20 years. Same Kashmir where Gandhi saw the ray of hope in secularism has been bloodied by fanatics. All Kashmiris have suffered, both Hindoos and Muslims - it is time to tell the jihadis and security forces to leave us alone - enough Kashmiris have died - enough blood has flowed in jehlum - time for PEACE - for the future of Kashmir.Pakistanis and Hindustanis should stop playing politics. Pakistan MUST stop training terrorists and India MUST stop renegades and ikhwanis and their security force patrons from abusing Kashmiris.

Muhammad Asif
Kotli, Azad Kashmir

We all three nations [India, Pakistan & Kashmir] know that Kashmir is a free state. But in 1948 India captured this state. We Kashmiri want a free United States of Kashmir, consisting of Jammu velly, Kashmir and Laddakh. We want peace. And INSHA ALLAH, one day Kashmir State and thier people will be free.Thanks for this site.

Azad Mukhdoomi
srinagar kashmir (USA), Srinagar

Kashmir is a heaven on earth. I would request all to visit. And I miss my beautiful Kashmir. But with dignity. Let Kashmir be a bridge for peace between India and Pakistan. Regards,
Azad Mukhdoomi USA.

ANIKET GURAV
kolhapur, maharashtra

I think Kashmir is heaven of this world and it is an undividable part of INDIA. I think India should give facilities such as food, education, and peace protection. Then peoples in Kashmir will support INDIA.

Hira Salman
Karachi, Sindh

Great work. It was amazing yet very shocking. Though being a Pakistani, what I want for Kashmir is what the Kashmiris want. India and Pakistan should first try to handle their own internal issues. Pakistan has had an unstable political history so they should work on that and India should concentrate more on its slums which are some of the biggest in the world. Please give Kashmir back to the Kasmiris. They have seen a lot. Please India let it be. As a Pakistani, I say we don't want it but please become a little selfless yourself too. Put yourself in their shoes. And by the way Mr. Unknown, they are neither Indians nor Pakistanis. They are Kashmirs, why is this so hard to digest?

Aadithya Narayan
New Delhi, New Delhi

The problem in Kashmir is largely due to Islamic militants; who had no jobs after Afghanistan. Kashmir is an inseparable part of India and people who do not accept it will have to leave this beautiful place in peace to their 'chosen land' of Pakistan. The so-called idea that Kashmir stands for the 'k' in Pakistan is an aberration. Just because Kashmir is a Muslim majority it has to go to Pakistan is a dangerous argument. The people of Kashmir should understand that their best interest is to be with India which is a vibrant democracy and economic giant.

jayu khot
pune, mahrashtra

I am going to visit Kashmir this summer. I want to do this before I die. After seeing the pics and reading the story and comments; I have a premonition that my heart is going to break.

Ganesh K
Bangalore/Bengaluru, Karnataka

Kashmir is not a simple issue. Many things are making it complex in nature. When it is viewed as a human right issue, all of us agree that Kashmirians are our brothers and sisters. But, Kashmir is part of India, and a delicate place to hold, surrounded by the nations of the subcontinent (India, China, Pakistan) If millitants occupy full Kashmir, they may support China or Pakistan which is horrible for India. So, the people of Kashmir must not support militancy and should not allow religious leaders to take advantage of the situation.

I heard that Kashmir is returning to peace. That's a good sign. It must continue. People must get good infrastructure, food, water, security, education, etc. Let Kashmir be in India. Let it have peace.

napa, california
In showing the human face of the Kashmiri problem so powerfully and beautifully, these extraordinary pictures deliver more insight and active concern to people like me, living half a world away, than any other other form of news report. Thank you.

IRFAN MIR
SRINAGAR, JAMMU & KASHMIR

I cannot express this troubled state in words. This paradise has been made a battle field by both India and Pakistan -- India uses Kashmir as a shield and Pakistan stirs up the [militants].

vj sharma
irvine, ca

Kashmir is not a simple problem to tackle due to the fact that it is or rather was the sole purpose of Pakistan army's exsistence. Long before the Taliban was created by ISI [Pakistan's intelligence agency] they created Kashmiri militants when their attempts to create destablisation in the Indian province of Punjab failed. They backed those separatists too with arms and money. Kashmir consists of three sub provinces: Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladhakh. The last two are peaceful and calm as any other part of the world is today. One third of Kashmir is called POK or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir which has a dummy government with no power. it can be concluded that the fight is over Kashmir valley which wants freedom not occupation by any of the two parties, India or Pakistan. It is sad though that none of the countries will allow that to happpen in our life times.

Mayank Chhaya
Chicago, Illinois

I reported on Kashmir from 1989 to 1997. It strikes me that in the past decade nothing seems to have changed. Kashmir remains tragic and beautiful. In Kashmir's context it is hard to say where beauty ends and tragedy begins. My congratulations to Ami Vitale for a thoughtful visual essay.
Mayank Chhaya

Arian Vaid
NYC

Beautiful pictures by Ami Vitalie and a well written article by Anuj Chopra. I am an Indian and have lots of Kashmiri friends. I understand their grief but I do believe that the Indian army has every right to be in Kashmir. If they leave, Pakistan-sponsored terrorists will take advantage of the military vaccum -- they can go to any extent to annex Kashmir. Have we forgotten the Kargil war, already?

sheikh khalid
srinagar, jammu and kashmir

This sensitive and beautiful imagery is great , thanks for creating it. People of Kashmir want peace , but with dignity. Let Kashmir be a bridge for peace between India and Pakistan.

Sunil Yande
Farmington Hills, MI

Kashmir has always been a beautiful and serene place - an ideal destination for honeymooners and vacationeers all over India. It was a thriving land with tourists pouring in almost throughout the year - until the terrorists took over. If a burnt, dead Kashmir is what the activists and their supporters want, so it will be...

Elizabeth P
New York, NY

Wow! What stunning images. This slideshow really gives an inner look to the situation in Kashmir in a very evocative and creative way. Congrats to Frontline/World for promoting this type of journalism.

Monrovia, CA
Unite India and Pakistan to form an alliance that was one a shining star.

suman
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

I am Indian and grew up in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. These photos and commentary are amazing. Better than any i have seen on TV in India. As a child, I used to think Kashmir belonged to India and that Pakistan had no right to claim it as their own. As I grew older I realized who am I, living hundreds of miles away to decide where Kashmir belongs? And I think most Indians make this mistake (I cannot speak for Pakistanis). I read a lot about the history of Kashmir and still cannot understand why we have to fight over it. Why can't we (India) let it have freedom. Kashmiris are our brothers and sisters and we should not worry about where they belong they will still be our brothers and sisters.

San Antonio, TX
The beauty juxtaposed with the pain and the hurt offers such breathtaking duality. Thank you for this meditation on Kashmir, on humanity.

Dubai
I just would like to thank the filmmaker for showing the world what is really happening in Kashmir. I myself worked in Kashmir for more than a year & have seen how the military and CRPF harass the Kashmiri people. It is really pathetic. The Kashmiris should boycott all the parties and look for peace and humanity. I am a frequent visitor to Kashmir. I love the place, the people and the culture. My prayers and wishes are with all Kashmiris to try to resolve the situation and live peacefully.

Gurpal Kaur
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

After reading the comments, most of us are still taking either India or Pakistan's side.. which is so pathetic because Kashmir is so different from India and Pakistan and it should be left alone.. but we can sit here and say how beautiful it is but we do not know what it really is unless we live there.... it is a whole different story when a person is another country and just saying what is wrong and whats right.. and we can say whatever we want about India and Pakistan leaving it alone but its not happening because Pakistanis and Indians rulers are selfish and controlling and they will want whatever they set their mind on... look at the political systems.. they are not so great so why do we expect them to leave them alone... until we find politicians who think like us.. which can be impossible.. again.. we cant lose hope though and we all wish that Kashmir would gain its on independence and its very beautiful...

BRS RAO
BANGALORE, KARNATAKA

AMAZING AND EXCELLENT WORK.

ON ONE SIDE KASHMIRIS WANT FREEDOM FROM INDIA. BUT SUPPOSE INDIA SAYS LET KASHMIR BECOME A FREE STATE, THE PROBLEMS WILL NOT END THERE. WITH SUPPORT FROM PAKISTAN THE MILITANTS WILL ENTER THE ADJOINING INDIAN STATE, HARBOUR TERRORISM, KILL INNOCENT HINDUS, AND WILL ASK FOR SEPARATE HOMELAND, AND THIS WILL GO ON TILL ALL THE STATES HAVE BEEN OCCUPIED BY MUSLIMS....

LET THE INDIAN GOVT. NOT FEEL THREATENED AND CONTINUE ITS CONTROL OVER KASHMIR. KASHMIR IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF INDIA. THANK YOU.

viren dave
mumbai, m.p.

Hira salmanji and sumanji. I respect your view on the Kashmir crisis which is very ethical and unbiased.But imagine what would happen if the independent Kashmir is again captured by western superpowers.Because through Kashmir they can strategically cover Iran,Russia,China and India. Morever Pakistan will stop receiving foreign aid as its land is no longer needed.Pakistan will slip into economic crisis and will gradually disintegrate. Its a faraway thought which can also be a reality.

malibu, CA
KASHMIR SHOULD BE WITH INDIA BECAUSE INDIA IS A MORE STABLE AND UNPREJUDICED COUNTRY THAT WILL NOT BREED TERRORISTS LIKE PAKISTAN MIGHT.

sydney
Muslims are responsible for the situation in Kashmir. They were servents of the Hindu's and so they rebelled and ended up causing this mess.

angel joli
los angeles, California

Kashmir should be with India as the Maharaja of Kashmir wanted. The Paks came into Kashmir uninvited and caused this mess. Now all the muslims want Kashmir to be with Pakistan and are playing a clever game to make India look bad. Disgusting. KASHMIR IS INDIAN AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE INDIAN. All the hindus have left Kashmir because of the hostility towards them. The lost EVERYTHING. House, wealth...everything was taken by the muslims who forced them out of Kashmir. Its horrible.

Bangalore, karnataka
If Kashmir is going to be independent, POK [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir] will be part of an independent Kashmir. Can Pakistanis dare to do so?

Susheel Kalra
Toronto, Ontario

First of all, Ami, let me commend you for a very striking piece of journalism. Having been to Kashmir, it breaks my heart every time I hear about any violence in this piece of paradise on earth. I think every one who has experienced this part of the world--its innocent people, its beauty--prays that this cycle of violence stops.

srinagar
kashmir was an independent state before independence. so allow kashmiris to live a free and peaceful life.this will be in the interest of both india and pakistan

(anonymous)
Kashmir produced great art and civilization when it was HIndu and Buddhist. Now the Muslims have got what they wanted--they have kicked out all the non-Muslims from the area. 300,000 Pandits live as refugees in their own country. The result is a dirty backward Kashmir beyond recognition and continuing violence. This is what Muslims do to everywhere they spread that religion of theirs. But Hindus have to tolerate Muslims. There are no Hindus left in Pakistan. Any fool can see that Muslims do not tolerate others and non-Muslims cannot live in their midst. India owes the Pandits the security to come back to their ancestral lands. The biggest mistake Gandhi and Nehru made was to let the pack of muslims remain in India to create a secular state. Just move to Pakistan. This goes for all the Mulslims in India. So perhaps they should start rallying for a separate state? The fact is they stay because they enjoy greater freedoms in India and are financially better off than in Pakistan. If they do not like it they are free to go to Pakistan or Bangladesh. Stop complaining and improve your lot because you are given the same opportunity as everyone else! No other country would tolerate this crap but India--no other country than India puts the interest of the minority at the expense of the majority. Go ahead an delete this because this is biased and pro-Pakistan. It does not even Mention the 300000 Kashmiri Pandits who are refugees in the own lands. Pakistan cannot handle its home-grown terrorists and is disintegrating. It has gotten its just deserts. The international community should put pressure on them to change their ways and stop funding terror around the world and start living in the twentieth century. They days for Jihad was in the medieval times. But they claim they are fighting terror to get American aid and the at the same time fund the terrorists in Kashmir without batting an eyelid. They make fools out of the international community. Hindus and Muslims lived peacefully in Kashmir before ! Pakistan
started to supply the terrorists. Hey perhaps it is the Muslims' fault that they do not want to live peacefully in India when they are given every opportunity to uplift themselves. What Muslim country in the world is forward looking? None.
But soon the smart countries will find alternative sources of energy and stop depending on oil and the Mid East countries will no longer be able to bail out Pakistan without oil money and only then will it be forced to face the modern world. Go ahead delete this. This post is biased and Kashmiri muslims are especially known for being treacherous. Good muslim propaganda though miss Amie!

(anonymous)
Pakistan should stop the terror. Terrorism sponsored by them has resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Hindus-the Pandits who have been living there since before there was a religion called Islam. 300,000 Pandits had to leave their homes and are now refugees in their own country. Pakistan cannot handle its own territories. The Gulf countries bail with oil money bail it for its crises that result from sponsoring terrorism. But violence begets violence and this is that Pakistan does not seem to understand and even the Western world has now seen its malice. Take a look at Azad Kashmir in the Pakistani side--how backward and underdeveloped it is. India subsidizes Kashmir to keep muslims happy--but in return Pakistan just encourages terrorism. They should keep their own house in order first.

(anonymous)
Well, there is a differece of world between yesterday and today. What I was yesterday has no meaning what so ever, but what I am today has lot to do to my country , me , my family and the humanity as well.First, i am speechless to see such awesome pics (awesome in its originality) of my motherland and every kashmiri may thank this journalist for such a commmandable effort.Thak you very much for presenting my motherland in your art.
Kashmir, a beautiful name, but just a beautiful mane ! Kashmir and kashmiris have been tricked time and again in the past,weather by Mughals,singh dynasty, pakistan or India. Should I call this all a mere inocence of kashmiris or should I call my motherland a land of fools. These questions haunts me again and again like anything!
My motherland kashmir is full of all the painfull words you may come across in any dictionary, then how dare you to call it the heaven of earth. I feel sorry at those minds who difines heaven only because of its physical beauty. Dear brothern heaven means peace, heaven means respect, heaven means satisfaction, heaven means equallty, heaven means brotherhood,heaven means what not????????? For god sake all those who have been in kashmir or have visited kashmir, how many things I mentioned above exists in kashmir. Kashmir has been unfortunate throughout history for creating icons, icons who could lead the kashmir from the front, kashmir has been barren throughout the history in creating some great politicians, the politicians who could make some sense to the people of kashmir and the world around. It is something in our genes(i mean muslims), that we are being blackmailed in the name of religion and this is the reason we have seen our collapse here there and every where. It can not be co incidence that there are two worlds today wxisting on the planet earth, one is the Muslim world and next is the Non muslim world. Who you would prefer to live in? whatever be your answer but definitely with more than hundered degree of confidence i would love to live in the Non Muslim world. Don`t get confused that i have mixed with other religion, I perform all my rilegious duties with more peacefully securely and spiritually even in this Non Muslim World. The problem is not with the Islamic philosophy but the problem has been with the interpretations.
In my sense kashmir has only one solution either to give up completely and work for the upliftment of the kashmir in every walk of life. But if they are being still emotionally blackmailed of losing 80,0000 people, in that case if the want to see an "Independent Kashmir",then they should ready to lose 1080,000 more people to make this dream come true. Beause Independence is not an easy stuff to get. Ad the second prediction which i would like to have that is if we are sometime emanicipated from Indian occupation, the res Kashmiri people will die in inter sectional fight. Because, I know the genetics of this community who gets easily black mailed in the name of religion, sect, power and empire. Kashmiris are no way different from Aghanistan, Iraq, pakistan so on and so forth. God forbit, what is there present will be our future if we get an independence. So if we want have a better future we kashmiri youth have to understand the undercover facts and realities, we have to take care of the Kashmir for hundereds of years to come. Dear kashmiri brothern, I respect this journalist for its good job to make people aware about the havoc existing in Kashmir, but I again request you not to get blackmailed with past, look toward the future existance of kashmir and kashmiri peiople.
Rightnow we are just losers, where is that freedom struggle, where are those more than fifty parties who where supposed to fight for the cause of kashmir.Rightnow the are working as business men, some are working in Indian Army and some in task forces to beat inocent fool kashmiris ruthlessly!
What was the fun of burning of schools, colleges and Universities in the Valley, do these great freedom fighters have any answer to these questions, do they have any reason to why they fought most of the times internally within these parties. All I could reach to the conclusion is that they were helpless at the hands of genetics, that forced them to harm thier own brothers.
Freedom has many definitions, i wonder why you know only one where your men would be on the borders. If that would have been the definition of freedom, then pakistani , afghanis, etc would had not been the victums of Illitracy, Violence, ignorance, extortion, sec killings. Because freedom means free from all these things and that is why i would love to live in Non Muslim World because they are really free from all these blessings. They don`t set on fire to the minority religious places, they don`t kill people of opposite sect in the worship places, they are not Illitrate, they are not ignorant, they don`t have voilence and i think what they have not?? This does not mean they are ideal, but they are close to it than us. For a logical mind it is enough to declare them better people. They are loyal to their Nation, themselves and mankind as well. This is supported by their contribution to science, society and human wellfare and what we have done ,just ignorance. Day by day we are creating Madrasas (Religiuos schools) but burning the scientific schools. We are still making differece between religious and scientific education,when these are just mirror images of each other.We hold the holly Quran close to our hearts but we have discriminated science like harijans !
But have we muslims ever understood what the Holly Quran is all about, perhaps not. We simply know how to memorize it, how to recite it with resect. But dear barren minds it was all the universal book which God has send on our beloved Universal Prophet(PBUH) for excelling in every sphere of our lives. This book was meant for applications in our lives but we made it something taboo and can not ques and aswer in anyway. We muslims believe that we have to accept it in blind form, but i am asking why and why??
Hey the unfortunate muslim minds it is not that blind what you have propagated. It is a logical book and religion for logical minds. If any illogical and blind person will follow it, for him it is blind and illogical and moreover he will get all the blindness from it and will make his/her surroundings blind as well.
So dear journalist i admire your work and emotions for "paradise lost kashmir" and kashmiri people, but I have tried to make your highness understand,that what has has gone wrong which resulted in loss of more than 80,000 kashmiris and I have tried to make your highness understand that why you and me are emotional rightnow towards kashmiri people. Dear kashmiri people are themselves response for this catestrophy upon us. We are fools, my land has been impotent in creating great leaders like Nelson Mandella, Mahatma Ghandhi,greeks and so on and so forth. This is the result that people have invade us very easyily, we have no political courage and mascular courage to save our lives from getting caught in problems.
All I can say to my brothers, is to wake up and see the other beautiful definitions of the freedom, otherwise god forbit time is not foraway when we will be sold again for some million dollars and we will again repeat our weak history !!!!!!!!!!

Antwerpen, Belgium
kashmir the heaven on earth has turned in to hell by indians and pakistani agancies we the people of kashmir wants a kashmir that will be a bridge of peace between these two countries.lets start a nes history and let the people of kashmir what they want i hope it will be in the best intrest of pakistan and indua and rest of the world thanks .Mir Masood from Muzaffarabad but now in Belgium.

gaurav sharma
southall, England

I have lived in shopian kashmir for 25 years I am a kashmiri pundit. We and other Kashmiri muslims lived in peace before the revolt in 1989. Millants should fight pakistan for azad kashmir instead of causing trouble in indian kashmir. PoK is illegal.Remember Hari singh?

Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Excellent work. May God reward you for bringing the truth out about. Kashmiris are not communal at all and the concept among Indians and others that the Kashmir dispute is a religious dispute issue is absurd. Kashmiris are only asking to implement the resolutions passed by the United Nations in the 1940s giving Kashmiris the right to choose and agreed by India and Pakistan. How long can India afford to keep Kashmiris under seige? Kashmir has become like a cancer for India and Pakistan. Billions of rupees are being spent to maintain the occupation by India and Pakistan and yet millions of Indians and Pakistanis are suffering due to poverty. Kashmir can become a bridge of peace between India and Pakistan if the will of Kashmiris is respected. It is time for truthful Indians to rise up and support the right of self determination for the Kashmiris. Whether Kashmiris vote for India, Pakistan or independence, the will of Kashmiris should be respected by all.

Subtain Zia
Hartford, Connecticut

Ms. Vitale has done an outstanding job at presenting an unbiased picture of present-day Kashmir. India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir as a vital part of their territory and thus culture. So, then who does Kashmir belongs to?
This question is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris either by the Indian Security Forces or the militants (Freedom Fighters). In my own opinion, Kashmir belongs to the Kashmiris. India, Pakistan and China must stop claiming Kashmir as part of their respective countries. Kashmiris have a unique identity and does not correlate to any of the neighboring countries. The atrocities in this Kingdom of Heaven have plunged the region into a state of permanent chaos.

For those of us who need a history lesson on Kashmir, here is my overview. Kashmir was initially ceded to Pakistan due to the Muslim majority. But, some Hindu ruler of Kashmir ceded Kashmir to India without the consent of its people who were mainly Muslims. Tribal leaders along with Pakistani army quickly entered Kashmir in order to stop the advancing Indian army who were called for support by the Raja. US and UN quickly intervened and a cease fire was announced. Line of Control (LOC) was established which divided Kashmir into Azad (Free) and Indian occupied Kashmir. Since that time both countries have continuously faced each other on the battleground over the issue of Kashmir.

According to a UN Resolution a referendum was supposed to be held in Kashmir in order to gain the perspective of Kashmiris about the future of Kashmir. Since most Kashmiris are pro Pakistani due to religious and cultural ties they would have chosen to cede with Pakistan and India was well aware of that. And, that�s why a referendum has never taken place in Kashmir.

Since India claims to be an epitome of democracy she should hold a referendum but we all know that it seems highly unlikely.

While reading some of the opinions I saw some people claiming that demographically Kashmir has a Hindu majority. But, the reason for that is that India has been sending Hindus to Kashmir in order to make it a Hindu majority which completely eliminates any possibility of a successful referendum which will show the �true� will of the "Kashmiris".

At the end of the day, both India and Pakistan need to take a back seat and only then can we see some progress. The matter of Kashmir would have been long over only if Jinnah and Gandhi were alive. Alas, who can alter history?
My heart goes out to those Kashmiris who have put up with all sides for the past six decades in their own country. God willingly the issue of Kashmir will be resolved within our lifetime if not after.

Sarah Duffy
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Kashmir should get independence i believe, and they should just leave India alone. There are some beautiful images on there, and its amazing photography. I believe as if, if India and Pakistan would just leave kasmir be, there wouldn't be so much conflict, and unresolved conflict that needs to be dealt with. Pakistan has enough problems to worry about with war, why bother another place when its just creating more conflict.

(anonymous)
This was a really good video, I enjoyed watching it. I liked how it showed the beautiful side of Kashmir and the war torn side.

Da burg, PA
This movie was saweeettt dawg. It was sad to watch how awful these people are living but people need to see this!

jason wu
pittsburgh, PA

Even though I have never visited Kashmir myself, this site has opened a window to me with its fantastic photographs and excellent narration.

Pittsburgh, PA
Very good slide show. I learned a lot about the terror and fear that many people experience in their lives. Thank you for sharing

Siddhant Oberoi
Chandigarh

It is an amazing piece of work by Ami. This is a true reflection of Pakistan and India's battle, and unfortunately Kashmiris have to pay the price by giving away loved ones.

Gill k Qaiser
Amsterdam, United states of Kashmir

Kashmir and the Kashmiri nation are caught by the robbers and they in this case are India and Pakistan. It is our bad luck. How long will these masters keep us slaves? The day will come when we will able to make Kashmir independent.

dehli
Good work.

Sanjay
Delhi

Very good work. India must rise and fulfill the promises to Kashmiris even if Pakistan won't. That will show our democratic and great image to the world and make us a real powerful and loving nation of the world. We can even pressurise Pakistan and China to give Kashmiris back their occupied parts of Kashmir.

I also want to point out here why Kashmiri pandits are crying so much. India has provided them a lot. Plots, funds, jobs, reserved seats in professional colleges in many States of India. Their children remained away from the trouble in Kashmir and are well educated. In fact one of the most educated communities. India has provided them lots of facilities. I am not against them, I know some of them are in bad conditions because of cheatings of their leaders and influential people who have grabbed even their part.

They [the Kasmiri Pandits] must realise that 70000 people have died in Kashmir (mostly not involved in any type of militancy). Nobody has done anything for their families. If they would have also left Kashmir they would also have been safe. Don't tell now please that pandits were the only ones pressurised. Lots of human beings lost their lives.

I am here to say that all parties in the Kashmir issue must stand for truth and fulfill the promises to Kashmir.

Srikant
Sugarland, Texas

The pictures are wonderful but they dont tell the story. Vitale seems to have been carried away by emotion and avoided the demands of (photo) journalistic rigor. Except for 4-5 pictures the rest only potray grief and pathos. But those that are shown grieving dont include the Pandits, the security personnel (except one) or those that were targeted by the Jehadis. Vitale has not only done lip service to the beauty of Nature in Kashmir but had been one-sided in her potrayal of the conflict there. She should have tried to be fair or at least have admitted her prejudices.

Mehran Khan
Srinagar, J&K

These pictures are really expressing the trauma faced by the Kashmiri people over the last 19 years. I really appreciate these pictures and the message behind them.

adnan adnan
karachi, tt


I am going to visit Kashmir this summer. I want to do this before I die. After seeing the pics and reading the story and comments; I have a premonition that my heart is going to break.


Faheem Khan
Islamabad, Federal

I am a TRUE Kashmiri. Honestly for all those Indians and EVEN Pakistanis, GET OUT OF OUR HOMELAND. You guys are doing nothing but destroying its beauty. Remember, Kashmir WAS the MOST beautiful place on Earth. Now it is BARELY that.

mumbai, Maharashta
It is good work. I want to point out a few things here: First of all many of my Indian and Pakistani friends don't know about Kashmir problem in depth and are only telling that it belongs to India or Pak -- in fact out of love for their countries. But I think they must rise above this and must even realise that India and Pakistan (I don't want to tell people of these countries but infact the politicians) are the two main parties who have created the problems for Kashmiris by occupying Kashmir illegaly and forcibly.

At least the educated people of the two countries must stand and support the Kashmiris and pressurise their governments to give Kashmiris their rights. If Kashmir is given its freedom, then I am sure that the love for Indians and Pakistanis in Kashmir will increase and surely it will be open to both Indians and Pakistanis.

Make Kashmir a field of love for this subcontinent and not a battle field.

zain nadeem
muzafarabad, Azad kashmir

Wow! Awesonme! That made me feel sad a bit. I am from independent Kashmir in Pakistan and I feel proud to be a Pakistani because we are recieving what we want. I would say the majority wants to be a part of Pakistan in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
There should be referundum, but India is denying that because they know what's going to happen. Long live Kashmir, long live India and long live Pakistan.

Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Till 1989-90 Kashmir was totally peaceful.There used to be no killings,rapes or roits till then. It was totally a peaceful place, though, the Pak propaganda machine was working overtime in denigrating the Indian presence.Pak propaganda machine was supported by BBC and VOA.Tourism industry was in full swing till then. Most of the Bollywood films used to be shot there. Then came the CIA/ISI onslaught in the aftermath of the Afghan war. Having learn a few lessons there the Western alliance turned its attention to Kashmir in full swing. Pakistan has, for most part of its existence, been a military dictatorship.To sustain dictatorships in Pakistan,they needed "Kashmir" as a flashpoint, so, succeeded in pushing India and Pakistan to a head on collision to serve their long term goals in the region.

Kashmir's Hindu's and Muslims had to bear the brunt of this game plan. The result is the conditions that you see vividly. Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits as they are called locally) are forced to flee Kashmir and live in camps in Jammu uprooted from their ancestral homes. Hundreds of temples were destroyed, which had nothing to do with their aspirations. They succeeded in creating a Muslim ghetto, aligned to the fundamentalist regimes of West Asia.

William .
Jakarta, Indonesia

Really nice journalistic photos. All of the pictures have impacts and tell a story. Impressive. Thanks for sharing your photos.

Raj Chaturvedi
NY

Its great to watch the pictures showing the different colours and emotions of a common Kashmiri. However one fails to understand why Pakistan is not letting Kashmiris prosper in the Indian Kashmir. An ordinary Kashmiri who was fairly rich Pre-1989, depends upon tourism, and the first thing the jihadis did was to take that occupation from them and than pressurise them to send their men folk for training in arms to Pakistan. Hope this situation ends soon.

Abdul Majid Sheikh
Nagpur, Maharashtra

It is very easy to talk, but for Kashmiries it is dificult to live in Kashmir in the presence of Indian army who made Kashmir hell.

I am a Kashmiri and want to see my motherland free from both India and Pakistan. We want to have a separate and united Kashmir. If the international community wants to see peace in the sub continent, they have to implement a plebsicite in both parts of Kashmir (IOK and POK).

Dear friends see the above comments by all Indians. I visited Kashmir last year and I prey to God for kashmiries they are really not happy with Indian army as well as not happy with Pakistan.

They want their own country.

Glenda Roberts
Dunedin, New Zealand

Wow - thank you so much for sharing your images with the world. These are some of the most beautiful photos from this region that I have ever seen. You have an obvious passion, and blessed skill for capturing the essence and true heart of the people and situations you photograph. I feel an affinity with your chosen compositions, and also the subject matter. The world has too many people suffering due to an inability to accept other religions. I wish for the light to shine equally on all souls alight in this lifetime.

Regards,
Glenda Roberts
Itinerant Photographer
& Project Manager

kashsoldier rick
Srinagar, Jammu

Nice pics !! I think Ami should also report about Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence agency's atrocities in parts of India other than Kashmir, like Mumbai railway bombings, Hyderabad cinema theatre bombings, and Delhi market bombings.
Kashmir independence idea was propagated by separatist politicians backed by Pakistan.

In this day and age, you are talking about independence, from the world's second fastest growing economic power!! Dream on kids !!

yassir
jammu, j&k

I as a citizen of J & K always think that it is better to stay with democratic India than to face Pakistan's dictator governments.

Ajay
Srinagar, India

Yes, that was my identity [in Kashmir]. Alas, it is no more. Taken by merciless Islamic fanatics. My crime -- I was silent, secular, non-violent. My house taken against my wishes. My community forced to leave en masse by Muslim fanatics. Who are we kidding? I don't know.

srinagar, kashmir
Well as a Kashmiri dweller, I know the real thing. I am 30 . There are no words to express my griefs and regrets. I have been raised in the horrible days. We just want a lasting peace. We Kashmiris are being made hostages by the Indian army. Located at every point. I advise India to pull its army from here. So that we can live peacefully. No body wants to live as a slave. Why has India has encroached on Kashmir? Why she snached our smiles? If India really cares for us she must leave. For god sake. Remember I am a common person. And every one has a right to speak. That is it.

Jamil Ahmad
Sialkot, Punjab

Wonderfully done. Not so many know all this. Now, enough is enough. Both India and Pakistan should sit together and stop repeating that Kashmir is an INTEGRAL PART OF INDIA OR PAKISTAN. They will have to follow give and take formula to end the suffering of the innocent.

I am living in Sialkot just 28 KM away from Jammu region, Indian border is just 10.km away from where I am writing my comments. In winter, after we have some rain, sky gets clear and we can clearly see the snow Capped Mountains of Kashmir which keeps on reminding us that our brother and sisters there are being suppressed by force by the Indians and that really touches my heart. I had no other option left than to join hands with them against the India oppression. But we still believe that it can be done peacefully if the Indian friends find themselves willing for negotiation.

A J
Bangalore

Thank you Ami for conveying the emotional, unbiased, honest and impact-ful message of Kashmir's human suffering to the world. Immaculate beauty of Kashmir is what comes to our thoughts when the name Kashmir is mentioned. But Kashmir also reminds us of bloodshed, killings and human suffering. Through the pictures Ami has been successful to show the cruelty that humans inflict on another humans.

Mumbai
Kashmir is such a beautiful place, the picture which shows the army/police patrolling in the Dal lake is just stunning.

It's high time that Pakistan stops infiltrating terrorism into this beautiful heaven they call their own. If they really think kashmir belongs to them, then what should really matter to them is to let the people of the valley live their life in peace.

Ami's slide show is beautiful and touching, but she has only looked into the fact that the Indian armed forces are all over the place, what she has forgotten to capture is that most deaths in the valley are due to the militants and not the military.

jersey city, NJ
Kashmir will be defended, protected and will be a part of the secular Indian Union till the world lasts. Don't have illusions on this. Test the resolve of India, and 1.1 billion people will demonstrate the resolve. Kashmir is no one's business, including UN's. We the secular, plural, diverse and democratic Indians will decide what is best for our nation.

(anonymous)
First of all, it is a great work! I read all the comments....

I think the only solution to this is to make the LOC an international border, and I urge both India and Pakistan to come together to help build Kashmir and make it the Switzerland of the East. We owe Kashmiris a lot, and its pay back time.

SAMMY MOGHAL
BROOKLYN, ny

THIS IS FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE KASHMIR SHOULD STAY WITH INDIA. LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING PEOPLE. YOU KNOW HOW MANY KASHMIRIS ARE BEING ARRESTED EVERYDAY WHEN THEY TRAVEL TO INDIA AND LABEL AS TERRORISTS. THEY ARE STUDENTS, BUSSINSESS MAN, ETC. THESE PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING IN INDIAN JAILS WITHOUT HEARINGS AND ARE NOT ASSIGNED ATTRY'S. THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY. I AM SURPRISED THAT WE EVEN SUPPORT INDIA AND CALL IT BIGGEST DEMORCACY. GOD BLESS US.

M shafi bhatt
CHECKI KAWOOSA TEH: BERU DISTT BUDGAM, KASHMIR

ALL THE PEOPLES OF KASHMIR DO WANT AN INDEPENDENT LIFE. WE WANT OUR SEPARATE KASHMIR. WE HAVE NO NEED OF PAKISTAN OR INDIA.

srinagar, j&k
As being a Kashmiri, I know the most about Kashmir. We have lived in a state of terror for the last 2 decades. I have never been harrased by a millitant nor have seen any but I am being harrassed by so called Indian security forces. Millitants are not terrorists but the millitary in Kashmir are terrorists. It is a long discussion. In short I want to say I want to see an independent Kashmir...this is a wish of every Kashmiri.

ARBAB M ABDULLAH ARBAB M ABDULLAH
Bahawalpur, Punjab

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH WHO IS MOST BOUNTEOUS AND MERCIFUL.MY NAME IS ARBAB KHAN. I AM LAB ATTENDENT IN ISALMIA UNIVERISTY OF BAHAWALPUR, PAKISTAN. I VERY MUCH LIKE YOUR WEBSITE.
THANKS.
YOUR SINCERLY
ARBAB M ABDULLAH KHAN
THE ISLAMIA UNIVERISTY OF BAHAWALPUR.PAKSITANDEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND AND IT.BAGHDAD UL JADEED CAMPUS.

Pathankot, Punjab
Kashmir: The great game, the politico game between India and Pakistan in which both Kashmir and Kashmiris are rolling instead of the polo ball. The slideshow is technicially very good. Great work by Ami-Vitale behind the camera. She's got the really good eye behind the camera but what about the picturesque valley of Kashmir? Its beautiful meadows, lakes, tulip gardens. Do photojurnalists only know the colour of blood and not that of the roses and tulips of Kashmir? ...What about the lost Paradise? The fragrance of the saffron of Kashmir.

Satya Sharma
Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

The photographs are really good and highly appealing. But instead of writing about these photographs or for that matter appreciating them, it is good that we do something. It's high time that we all should unite to the purpose of doing justice for all the people in Kashmir. The dirty politics, especially the Congress party, should be kept aside, which has used all these days, the Kashmir issue, as a mouth piece to get into power. Let us unite and fight for justice. For this expression of solidarity, you need not be a Pakistani or an Indian, be a human being. Try to be humane for the people over there.

thangesparan govindasamy
shah alam, selangor

The very sight of the images brings vibration to the soul. It takes you back and to be part of nature.

Bhupendra Guleria
Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

It was tremandous work done by Ami Vitale which shows the real suffering of Kashmir. I hope that one day everything will be normal. I love kashmir & love India.

srinagar, j&k
Proud to be a Kashmiri. I think India cannot suppress the voices of innocent Kashmiris further. Kashmiris have never accepted any foreign rule over them...India cannot become a true superpower unless and until they resolve the dispute of Kashmir. The sooner they do it the better it would be for them. Please leave us alone (both India and Pakistan) so that we may live happily and in peace.

shikhar paliwal
haridwar, uttarakhand

Amazing photographs of a heaven like Kashmir. The situation is a bit tense. It deserves peace. Thank you.

muhammad asif
MULTAN , PAKISTAN

Kashmir is a part of Pakistan. We love Kashmir, and Kashmir loves Pakistan.

Rohit Choudhary
Kolkata, West BEngal

When people talk about Kashmir being part of Pakistan, this being a Muslim majority state and religion being the basis of partition, they forget that going by that logic India should be an entirely Hindu nation. What will happen to the Muslims in India if that logic is accepted and Kashmir is set free? Taking that forward all Muslims should be asked to go out of india or at least their voting right should be taken off. Let us be careful about what we speak.

srinagar, j&k
It is very easy to talk, but for Kashmiries it is dificult to live in Kashmir in the presence of Indian army who made Kashmir hell.

Muzamil Ahmad mehrab
Srinagar, Manchester, United kingdom

It is by and far a superb piece of work done in terms of making this slide show. But of course the people of Kashmir are still undergoing wrath at the hands of India and Pakistan. Still there's not peace yet, still blood shedding has not stopped, still bombings are occuring and still people, rather innocent people, are dying because just because of the fact they were born in Kashmir. I hope soon there would be an agenda by both the sides to help the people suffering from past 20 years.

Hyderabad
The images are very beautiful and haunting. It is almost like "Paradise Lost". I believe that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Even for that matter Pakistan and Bangladesh are parts of India carved out to satisfy a Muslim majority.

Irshad Ahmad
Surat, Gujarat

Kashmir problem is not complicated. It has been made complicated by prejudiced people both in India and Pakistan.Let those, who say Kashmir is inseparable part of India or natural part of Pakistan, study the history of India/Pak division and compare what happened to independent State of Hyderabad ruled by Nizam and State of Kashmir ruled by Maharaja of Kashmir. If India is justified in usurping by force independent State of Hyderabad in the name of Geography/religious majority population after India/Pakistan division, despite Nizam not agreeing, then Pakistan had as much right to usurp Kashmir as India had to usurp Hyderabad. Major fault lies at India's door who wants to have the cake and eat it too. The fact is Kashmir was Independent and seeing how India usurped Independent Hyderabad, Pakistan also wanted to usurp Kashmir. India and Pakistan ended up having their slice of territory of Kashmir. Why India did not go for referendum when the same was done for Junagarh and Sylhet? Because India knew that referendum of Junagarh would be in its favour and Sylhet was of minor importance whereas UN endorsed referendum in Kashmir will go against it and the state was too important to lose. This is the real story; any other argument by Indians or Pakistanis is just a prejudiced rhetoric for justifying their stand by quoting "scholarly" studies and documents.

Manoj Kesarwani
San Juan, Puerto Rico

There is no doubt that Kashmir issue is very complicated issue. And instead of being stubborn, all the involved parties should be realistic, because whatever had happened in the Kashmir valley cannot be rolled back. Efforts should be put in to restore the peace in the valley. By providing basic things like food, education, job, security, infrastructure etc. this can be achieved. And for the people who are giving argument that Kashmiris are separate than Indians, please make note that India is known for unity in diversity. As a Rajasthani is an Indian, a Bihari is an Indian, a Punjabi is an Indian, a Tamilian is an Indian, Kashmiris are also an Indian. So please stop talking about the different identities.

Mumbai, India
Forget Kashmir, one day, Pakistan, India and Kashmiris will all be friends and the problem will evaporate in thin air.

Rajesh sharan
raipur, chattisgarh

After seeing slides and various comments posted, one thing is sure that only Kashmiris are affected by this -- neither India nor Pakistan are willing to come to a real solution, but rather just hold on to their politics demands.

sana hm
k@R@cHi

I love Kashmir...Kashmir is a heaven on earth....

sana hm
k@R@cHi, sindh

I love Kashmir...kKshmir is a heaven on earth....

srinagar, srinagar
Two wars have already been fought over Kashmir. Every day there is still guerrilla war. The killing can be easily stopped by simple discussions around a table between all three parties [India, Pakistan, Kashmir] Please come forward to stop the bloodshed.

raja pandian
chennai, tamilnadu

We are all god's children, so no more war.

Girish KS
Bangalore

Great work! Pakistan should stop their so called moral and diplomatic support for militants in Kashmir. Stop pumping in the jihadi elements to India, and in return India should accept the LOC [line of control] as the international border.

kanpur, UP
I have lived in different parts of J&K for a very long period up to 1993. At the start of millitancy or uprising (depends on what you like to call it), the Hindus were butchered, raped and driven out of their homeland. Army personnel used to die in huge numbers. Please do not misunderstand me. I have got full sympathies for the suffering masses in Kashmir, but I always wonder why the sufferings of Hindus have never been highlighted. Most of the politicians of Kashmir directly or indirectly supported the ethnic cleanising of Kashmiri Hindus.

Ostrava, Czech Republic
It is so sad to see more comments in favor of seperation than peace. Kashmiris need to understand that they have to make the best use of the situation. I am not saying put up Indian flags. I am saying, why not benefit from the Indian economy and opportunities? A developed Kashmir, that is the best solution.

Kuwait, Kuwait
I am a Kashmiri and want to see my motherland free from both India and Pakistan. We want to have a separate and united Kashmir. If the international community wants to see peace in the sub continent, they have to implement a plebsicite in both parts of Kashmir (IOK and POK).

Sriraj Bhandari
AMRAVATI, India

Kashmir has been an integral part of India for the last 5000 years. It is the heart of India and no true Indian can think of its separation.

William H
New Delhi

Kashmir existed as an independednt entity much before the Indian or the Pakistani state even existed. India and Pakistan are laying claim to what is not rightfully theirs. If India is so sure that Kashmir is its "inseperable part" then why not hold a plebescite as per the UN resolutions? Democracy means rule of the prople not of the GUN ! The Indian army has assumed the role of the Demon whose goal is to wipe off the Kashmiri population so that India could easily control the lands of Kashmir. In the present times when India is surely emerging as an economic powerhouse, there is very little conscience left in the world who could speak for the exploited and oppressed people of Kashmir.

ANDY
DELHI, DELHI

At first I want to say that India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and many more are just the part of Undivided Hindustan/Bharat. But for their political benefit politicians have divided it into several parts and are still on the same path.

After [India's] independence [from Britain] Kashmir was allowed to select its future to go to which side it wanted -- India or Pakistan -- but in between Pakistan militants attacked Kashmir and from then the dispute started...

So it is my request to stop violence in Kashmir and do some thing for the betterment of the people of Kashmir.


Rohan Gaikar
Nasik, Maharashtra

Kashmir is an Indian State by the treaty signed by Kashmir's king during Pakistani invasion in 1947. Hence it belongs to India. Pakistan encourages terrorism in Kashmir in the name of Islam.

sheshadri Babu
Kolar Gold Fields, karnataka

Kashmir has been and will remain one of the most beautiful places... Muslims and Hindus can live in harmony.

Showkat Rather
USA (Kashmir), Nj

India & Pakistan are spending endless money on their defence services. In Kashmir one will find [what seems like] more security forces(Indian)than citizens of Kashmir. In spite of spending so much on security, I request India to withdraw forces from the Valley and let the people of Kashmir live in peace.

irfan m
riyadh, saudi arabia

Kashmir can never be a part of India. sooner the Indians realise better it would be for their own good. It has taken 60 years and it may take another 6000 years for us but we will never accept Indian hegemony and bullying. We are a proud nation and will live with our heads held high no matter what the Indian tactics.

Ankan Mitra
Bangalore

I never felt my Kashmiri friends as part of another country or Region, the view that Kashmir belongs to Pakistan or is a seperate state is entirely because of the narrow political benchmakrs that a group of want to achieve. Let the people live in peace and let the people of the region prosper.

aftab khan
srinagar, jammu and kashmir

We Kashmiris are Indian by heart, and love India.

KASH.COM
BROOKLYN, NY

Beautiful pics and commentary. Kashmir belongs to Kashmirs both sides. Let Kashmiri people decide their fate. Because of India and Pakistan LOC was created, which divided the Kashmir. They cut one heart and divided in half. Who gave them that right? Until this day Kashmir and families are divided. Both countires [Pakistan and India] should be tried in international court for human rights violations. Independent Kashmir is the only solution for both sides of Kashmir.

srinath narayanan
delhi, delhi

This is absolute bull. Everyone knows Kashmir is beautiful, that's why the Pakis want it plus the Muslim population in the region. Moreover all intelligent humans realize that war is waste but what do these dumb foreigners expect us to do hand Kashmir over to Pakistan on a plate. That is not going to happen. The militants started it not the Indian armed forces. Everything was just fine till the late 80s and all of a sudden terrorism. Kashmir is an integral part of india and it shall stay so. No matter what the UN or the world comunity says. Countries like the US play around with UN all the time and when some other country tries to protect its interests they start screaming about human rights.

Frankfurt, Germany
The pictures are really touching! But I don't agree when you say ""Hindu India""! India is a secular democracy and the Kashmiri as a people can only survive under the secular constituion of India!

Pakistan is a Muslim country, true. But India is a secular country. So don't say Hindu India.

And the other thing is: these so called "millitants" are Islamistic terrorists and NOTHING ELSE! When they attack the World Trade Center, they are Islamistic terrorists, when they attack India or Kashmir, then they are only "millitants" or what?

Anyway thanks for this video, and I pray to God that Kashmir, the Indian state, becomes peaceful again.

(anonymous)
The main thing which we should understand is that the militants are using this dispute to shed more blood. They're taking advantage of this. But I think Pakistanis shouldn't have sponsored militants in the beginning.

But let's not blame each other. I think militants should be hunted down and the case be closed as it is.

Let Pakistanis have the POK and the rest be as it is since it's not easy to divide Kashmir.

copenahagen
Please bring back the Hindu Kashmiris who were forced to leave their beautiful home land by the terrorist countries. Then try to resolve the issues by both communities of Kashmir. I hope that one day there will be peace,harmony & understanding between the people of different communities of India.

Soumendra Mukherjee
kolkatta, West Bengal, India

JAMMU AND KASHMIR IS THE PART OF INDIA. NO POWER OF WORLD CAN CHANGE IT.

sanjay kumar
Toronto, Ontario

It's good to read views of so many people about Kashmir. But it's a well known fact that Pakistan has nothing to do with Kashmir as Kashmir has been Integral part of India long before Islam religion was formed. Pakistan should concentrate on its own problems as it's citizens are suffering a lot. India also wants a healthy democratic Pakistan as neighbour.

Shabbir Ahmed
Bangalore, Karnataka

Thanks for this site. As a Kashmiri I am very pained. Though I am a part of maintream in India now I feel sorry for my brothers and sisters who are living hard life in Kashmir. I pray that all parties sit down and resolve the issue to bring back peace to the most beautiful place on this earth.

Zeeshan Khan
Multan, Pakistan

Salam to all. What I think about Kashmir is that the people of Kashmir should be allowed to govern their own state. Why the governments of Pakistan or India underestimate Kashmiris that they cannot run their state? Every one knows there has been blood-shed for the last 60 yrs. You may read the arguments of Indians that they are not ready to hand over Kashmir to Kashmiris neither Pakistanis are ready to give Kashmir to India. So, will this conflict between Pak and India continue and will the blood-shed of Kashmiris continue?

Why the Indians are not ready to follow the resolutions of United Nations? I think that Kashmir should be handed over to the people of Kashmir and both the countries should sign an agreement that they will not attack this state, neither will they interfere with the matters of this state and the super powers of the world should keep an eye on both the countries that they are not doing anything wrong.

Please, please, please think about the lives of Kashmiris. They are also humans and have right to live their own way. STOP THE BLOOD SHED whoever is involved in it.

Asif Ali Khan
Arjah Bagh, Azad Kashmir

This site is very informative and great sceneries of Jannat Nazeer Kashmir. I am from Arajah Azad Kashmir. As a Kashmiry I want Kashmir a free independent state. I love my motherland Kashmir.

Azim
Lahore

To be very honest the Kashmir issue today looks very complicated and probably we need bold steps from both India and Pakistan to resolve this issue.

But what turned me is looking at the various comments, One small comment attracted me. It is from 'SG - Stockholm' he/she asked 'Why do we have trouble and terrorism only with Muslim countries and Muslim related issues around the world?'. This really touched me. Honestly I feel why is this so ? Being a Muslim by religion I also feel are we someway responsible for the bloodshed around the world. Is the Muslims around the world are only oppressed and is this the only issue we need to fight for ? Why people around the world hate Muslims ? Why Muslims are seen in a way of suspicion ? Why only and only Muslims are branded as 'terrorists' and killers ? Are we really doing the work of Allah ?

I think Pakistan have lot of self inflicting internal issues to resolve than indulge in political war with India for Kashmir. In any case it cannot ever join Kashmir with her now. India will never allow this for sure. It can only see Kashmir valley to be free, independent nation, isn't it ? Now say god willing it becomes independent then what ? First of all Kashmir economy will be so weak that it cannot ever stand up on its foot. Who will ensure its soverignity ? How can it be geared up to protect her from India, China and also Pakistan ? What do we(Pakistan) get ? DO we win an inch of land ? Rather a possiblilty is that we loose 'Azad Kashmir'. So, why do we spend our hard earned taxed money for this direction to build offence/defence against India ? We need money to develop our country as a whole. When will we understand this ? See both India and Pakistan became independent together and where India is in terms of economy and where Pakistan is ? Don't we have the same chromozome 'T24' ? So what is making them to reach such levels and we in distant future cannot ?

I think we as Muslims and Pakistan have a lot to think.I leave my Muslim brothers some serious food for thought.

ashish zutshi
delhi, delhi

Kashmiri Pandits were killed because we were thought to be agents of India. Local Kashmiri Muslims acted as agents of terrorists and looted KP properties.
Shame on India for not defending us and shame on Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism.

SYED MOHAMMAD HADI
BUDGAM SRINAGAR, jammu and kashmir

It is unfortunate that people still talk about independence rather than peace.

riya kaul
Delhi, Delhi

My thoughts are captured in my mind and they feel suffocation will kill them soon. I want to write but dont understand whether to be emotional or Practical. I belong to same land that you are talking about but you never m,entioned me. I am Kashmiri Pandit.

Everybody is stating that Kashmir is separate land, it has Muslims as majority and so on, but let's go back to BC, what was in Kashmir? What was there is 8th centurt AD? Kashmiris and that too Hindus.

As times passed Islamic rulers attacked it, did attrocities on Hindus , converted large masses to their religion, killed others. Then centuries later the British came. Till that time Kashmir was already painted in Muslim majority. There may be Buddhists, dogras but they belong to Jammu and Ladakh. What about Kashmir? It's Hindu population had reduced to 1-2% of total. When in 1947 we got independence and Maharaja wanted to keep Kashmir independent nothing much happened. Then came Kaballas from Pakistan who attacked Kashmiris especially Hindus, that is when Maharaja bent toward India. Later in return for the Army support, Maharaja acceded Kashmir to India.

Why Muslims say they have been tortured, why is Human Rights commision just visiting Kashmir. Why Army is being labelled as dark enemies? Army is also human, they come from vast parts of India just to protect their Homeland, there in when they have to live so far from their families they resort to depression and some to agression. This agression results in human rights violations. I am not supporting HR violation but what I am saying is that it is not unique to Kashmir, it is happening at so many other places of India and Pakistan. Army has done lot for Kashmir, most important it has sacrified it's lives for mother country.

Why Muslims of Kashmir feel cheated? How come they have been supressed? They were provided same opportunities that other Hindus had there. Today they are selling their stuffs across India and India sends so much amount to food and other articles there, would they be able to sustain it if Kashmir is independent? This complete radicalisation and fanaticism in Kashmir is a product of Pakistan, Afghanisan, Middle East and God knows what else.

Moreover, what FlashPoint doesn't write is about marginal Hindus there who had to leave their homes and face miserable life during initial years. They became refugees in same state. They cant go back now, that generation is almost senile. and youngsters too frightened to know their roots. When I see face of my second cousin who was orphaned when militants came into his house and killed his father and mother I can't think on practical grounds. That time I feel HR violation is perhaps good.May be those who killed his parents or parents of hundreds are not getting punished but their nearby relatives are. this may seems harsh to all those who read this but this is how my heart feels when innocents have been killed because of religion for centuries.

aqib mahmood
bhimbhar, kashmire

This has been a great effort by an artist. My view is clear: why don't we let people decide their own fate? That will resolve all the problems. The Kashmiri people just want freedom from both India and Pakistan.

Rimi Bhat
Banglore

Kashmir is an integral part of India and will continue to remain so. The documentary has shown the plight of Muslims but there is no mention of Kashmiri Pandits who have suffered the worst due to this bloodshed.They have been rendered refugees in their own country.Kashmiri Muslims started this and they had anticipated that with Pakistan's support they will acheive independence very soon.They started it and now they are paying price for it.

velvet tears
delhi, delhi

Please, let there be peace.

Milano, Italia
I give you the sound...
In the darkness,
and when a soft
wind arrives near
a magic lantern,
you call me
like a glittering eye
in the skill of
a wisdom, you touch
a desire, and then,
in my heart, a delicate
voice discovers a
fate: you claim
the atmosphere, I
give the sound.....

Francesco Sinibaldi

Mohammed Arif
Jeddah 21524,

It is a disputed area. Who took this matter in the United Nations that this matter will be solved with the will of Kashmiries. From the first day, Indian Military is killing innocent peoples including Old age Men and Women, girls and boys. They have right to decide where they want to go, towards India or Pakistan or Alone as an independent state. Why not UN Resolution is being honored? Pakistan side Kashmir named as AZAD KASHMIR and they have their own parliament and own Prime Minister. So the Indian should also do so. And their own Prime Minister and other officials have accepted this area as DISPUTED. So let both side governments sit down and solve it.

PAVAN GUNAGANTI
hyderabad, andrapradesh

I LOVE KASHMIR. IT'S ALWAYS PART OF INDIA. WE ARE ALWAYS WITH THE KASHMIR PEOPLE.

pankaj mahajan
kangra, himachal pradesh

This slide show shows us the emotion, the feelings and the pain of the people who live there.

Saghier Jafri
Karachi, Pakistan

Dear Lovers of PEACE !
As a poet,writer and editor, these days I and Sabiha Saba are visiting Pakistan attending literary functions.

PEACE Loving people all over the World know that since the year 2000,I am all the time writing in the newspapers,magazines,websites about Importance of Resolving ALL the DISPUTES including KASHMIR Dispute NOW , permanently, peacefully so that there may be best friendship,wonderful relations and Pakistan.India also countries in this REGION and All over the World may progress rapidly under PEACEFUL Conditions.

If the politicians still fail to achieve positive results and just spend time for TALKS ONLY (Results of all the past talks are known to ALL) then,I have suggested my sincere,bold, active, honest help through my Urdu Poetic Formula. I am ready to travel at my expence everywhere to HELP in getting PERMANENT PEACE. Let the UNO,OIC,SAARC, INT'L.Justice,Human Rights make use of my services IF they are really serious in PEACE.
Editor Saghier Ahmed Jafri , saghierjafri@urdumanzil.com
http://www.urdumanzil.com

Chicago, Illinois
Human beings are probably the worst animals on the planet, very selfish animals. Pakistan was probably not made for Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, it was made for feudal landlords which thrive and rule Pakistan today. These landlords want land more than people.

Just to cite an example, I am an Urdu speaking "Bihari," former Pakistani, whose parents migrated to East Pakistan from India after the independence of East Pakistan from Pakistan, which became Bangladesh later. Pakistani government and Pakistani people in general refuse to take people like me, from Bangladesh, as we are different from local population and we were loyal to Pakistan and its unity. The local Bengali people and the government say, you are Pakistani, you must go to Pakistan. The Pakistani government does not want us, even though we were Pakistani, because we do not bring land do pakistan. Pakistan wants land. In the whole world, probably we are the biggest group of people, without citizenship.

The Pakistani government wants Kashmir because it is a land; I don't see that they want Kashmir just because Kashmiris are Muslims, thye mainly want the land.

But again I will ask India, the biggest democracy of the world, the very kind and humble Hindus, your leader (Gandhi) is famous in the whole world as a non-violent leader, learn human rights from Vaclav Havel, the first president of Czechoslovakia after communism finished. Do you remember Slovakia wanted separation from Czech? Vaclav Havel held a refrendum in Slovakia, and the overwhelming majority wanted independence from Czech, and they were given independence, without even one single gun shot fired.

Or take the example of Quebec in Canada: twice they voted to stay with Canada even though there is a large movement for separation.

India is a great democracy but still lacks humanity. India must rise above all this and become a nation that the rest of the world sees as a great nation and as a great people. Nobody wants to be a terrorist, he is forced into terrorism by a bigger terrorism, when Mr. Nehru signs in UNO to have a plebscite, then all of the successive governments refuses it with the force of military, isn't that an act of terrorism too?

Nice piece of photography, appreciate your work.

Ajay Koul
Chicago, USA

Well narrated & photographed about Muslims, yet a SKEWED documentary. No coverage of the Kashmiri Pandits (KPs)- the worst affected folks of the Kashmir valley. Thousands of KPs were killed by Muslim militants with broad, local Muslim sympathetic support, and thousands more are still languishing in the refugee camps in Jammu. Refugees in their own homeland.

riyadh, ksa
This is good.

gopal sarraf
delhi, delhi

Kashmir is a part of India. There was no violence in Kashmir till East Pakistan was formed called Bangladesh. After that, the ISI (Pakistan inteligence service) started to produce terrorists to disturb India and help China. Pakistan had already given some POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir territory) to China. It is not good for India to listen to Pakistani and Kashmiri leaders who always favour Pakistan. Indian troops are doing well for our mother land to save this Kashmiri region from becoming Pakistani-Chinese territory. Many terrorist camp are running in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Many times the Indian government has given evidence of this to the international community.

islamabad
Kashmiris are not only part of Pakistanis, they are our souls, and any plan regarding the surrender of Kashmir to India will not be acceptable. Pakistanis and Kashmiris have one blood & religion. They are part of Pakistan.

lahore, punjab
If Kashmir should become independent from India then logically Baluchistan and Sindh should separate from Pakistan. The people of those areas also want self-rule.

mansahd ahmad
muzzafrabad, ajk

Kashmiris want peace. Kasmiris want freedom. Independence is the only solution for Kashmir.

gowhar reshi
srinagar, J&K

Kashmir has its own identity and is well known by everyone throughout the world.No one has the right to decide the fate of Kashmir except Kashmiris. It is just a matter of time and patience. Evil has no roots and is always the loser at the end. Determination is the need of the hour for this very cause of getting our rights.

NY, NY
It was an awesome experience to see these pictures. Kashmir is really heaven on earth. Pakistanis talk about Indian-occupied Kashmir. What about Azad Kashmir? We are being suppressed by the Pakistani army. The Pakistanis are using us to take revenge for the liberation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Please re-unite Bangladesh with Pakistan, but leave us Kashmiris alone! Do not take us for granted. Our destiny is a free Kashmir. Inshallah.

Cambridge UK
The only time I've ever seen an Indian and a Pakistani agree on something related to Kashmir has been on two points:

1. It is the fault of the British.
2. There Should be Peace.

Neither side is willing to acknowledge their fault, nor can they move past the blame game to do something constructive.
Sad.

CHENNAI, TAMILNADU
Live and let live, but I have doubts that my Muslim friends will let other non-Muslims live in peace.

Jewan Khan
Attock, Pakistan

I can understand the point of view from both sides ie India & Pakistan.I just want for Kashmir what the Kashmiris want.

rizwan prince
karachi, aisha

This paradise has been made a battle field by both India and Pakistan -- India uses Kashmir as a shield and Pakistan stirs up the militants.

Mukti sharma
Delhi, delhi

10 years I walked through the streets of Kashmir. Akhnoor, Doda, Srinagar, Chandan - nagar. Life thrived there. There wasn't a more beautiful land than this one. Capturing the life - the dead life has been heartrendering. It aches to see my land like this !

Arshad Shaikh
Mumbai, Maharashtra

FRONTLINE has done amazing work!

People are finding it hard to live in Kashmir and now they are used to hearing gun fire sound frequently. And in Mumbai, might someone bother about those who daily lose their lives ? We should do something collective to rehabilate Kashmir civilians.

Hope for the Best!

rafia peer
Srinagar, J&K

India once pined for independence,then waged a war to get it. Freedom is a birth right of an individual, this was the slogan of Indians. But when Kashmiris raised the same voice it was suppressed under the debris of devastation and destuctions. Power makes you crazy,illegitimate power makes you even more. India is a regime of dictatorship in the garb of democracy.

I.V.Ramaswamy
hyderabad

Great work! I am an Indian living in Hyderabad. I was terrorised to see the violence in Kashmir. I think the only way to solve this crisis is the reunification of India and Pakistan. This will bring peace and prosperity to the people of the subcontinent. Imagine this scenario where military expenditures would come down. It would be heaven on earth.

sajad sarvar
srinagar& jammu, J&K

Indian and the Pakistanian side must understand that the people in Kashmir are neither for the war nor for the terrorism. They have been pushed to the wall because of the terrible decade. Now every body here wants to live in peace. War has been the solution in the past, but the war now is going to kill entire humanity.

I thank the photographer for her brave and courageous act.

Faisalabad, Punjab
This is a great site on Kashmir. Thank you.

VILL=FATEPUR>PO=BELHATI >PS-NANOOR>DIST-BIRBHUM, WESTBENGAL/INDIA
It is useless to blame anyone now. The whole of humanity has been suffered from politicians who start wars. Please do something for peace.

Kenny V
London, UK

The pix by Ami are very powerful. Narration doesnt give the complete picture of the issue. The human rights violations do happen in Kashmir, as they do in other parts of India. Custodial deaths, rapes happen in all parts of India not just Kashmir. Police brutalities happen in all parts of India, not just Kashmir.
Similar things happen in Pakistan. There're HR violations in PoK, Baluchistan and Sindh. Custodial deaths happen. People disappear after being taken into custody.

This is the saga of this region. Pakistan wants Kashmir and doesn't mind bleeding it as long the blame goes to India...

Despite the shortcomings of mistreating Muslims in 1 or 2 states of India, Muslims in India enjoy the full-range of rights.

Koki Syed
Chicago, United States

Dear All,
I would like to divide the Kashmir issue in three parts.

Part 1 - History: At the time of partition two thirds of India was princely state so, democracy was only on one third of India. For democratic regions British said it will divide the country on the basis of will of people, but on the princely state it will be the choice of the ruler. Nizam of Daccan decided to have his own state but what happened is that India sends its army in 1948 and captured the state. State Junagarh Case is still in pending in United Nations. The reason both of them lost their stand was majority of the people living in these states were Hindu. Now we come to Kashmir: Hindu Maharaja Invited Indian forces to save him from the Muslim majority state. Here please, do not forget the facts: the Mahatama Gandhi was on hunger strike as Nehru was not releasing the funds to run the affairs of newly born state, also there was blood shed going as well at the time of partition.

Part 2- After Partition: Mr Nehru signed a treaty in United Nations that they will let the people of Kashmir decide where they would like to go by plebiscite. But that promise was never fulfilled.

Part 3 - The Present: It's easy to say that Pakistan is preparing Militants. Militants are not a product of a chocolate factory -- you order them and they are ready there. It's a matter of emotions, feelings and will by which they dedicate their lives for one cause...Now, here we are talking about whole villages being raped and burnt. Here not even a single voice raised from 1.2 billion population that why on earth you are doing this if Kashmir is an integral of ours. Everybody is talking about Indian Progress and planning to make India a member of security council in United Nation but with this (Kashmir) sour, India cannot stand among the civilized Nations.

Sardar Faisal Akhlaq
Pallandri(A.K)

Very nice photos and commentary.I have read almost all the reactions also.I am from Azad kashmir,the part of Kashmir with Pakistan.Everyone from India or Pakistan seems to be saying that they should decide or something like this.But let me be clear about this to everyone that Kashmir belongs to Kashmiries and let them decide what they want to do. Otherwise this issue will never be solved.

Raja Junaid
muzaffarabad, islamabad

This is really great work.

Hamza Khan
Lahore, Punjab

It appears that Ms. Vitale didnt cover the issue objectively. A true comparison can only be made after comparing the two Kashmirs i.e Azad (Independent) Kashmir-POK- and the illegally occupied Indian kashmir. All these pictures are from the Indian Kashmir and not even a single one from the Azad Kashmir which is completely sovereign except in matters of Defence and Foreign Affairs with its own Prime Minister and President. Azad Kashmir has a populace which is absolutely happy and content in sharp contrast to IHK where the population is brutally crushed to maintain the ever hegemonic desirs of the Indian leadership. Visit Azad Kashmir and see the difference for yourself. And very importantly, the narration gives the impression that Pakistan is fighting to make Kashmir a part of Pakistan. Pakistan has never claimed Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan and it only calls for the aspirations of the Kashmiri people to be realized by means of a UN chartered plebiscite as was done in the case of Hyderabad and Junagarh.

The Indians always give the impression that Kashmir is a territorial dispute but Pakistan has always maintained that it is a humanitarian dispute where an entire segment of the population wants to align itself with Pakistan.
You want to find out the truth? Hold the plebiscite Pakistan wants as also proposed by UN resolutions and committed to by the Indian PM Nehru. This is all Pakistan demands and this is what common sense and the spirit of justice demands. Give the people of Kashmir the right of self determination!!!!

Showkat Rather
Kashmir

Kashmir, the so-called Paradise on earth. I want to tell India, which is known for democracy, that perhaps no one sees our sufferings. What Tibet is doing against China, we can also do but we want a peacefull resolution. Hope is the only thing which Kashmiris have. "No India, No Pakistan" -- we just want our Kashmir back soon.

unknown, abcd
Kashmir is a heaven on earth. I recently went to visit and found it a very peaceful place . I would request all to visit Kashmir once in their life time. The solution to Kashmir's problem is development, education and tourism. Forget about Hindu and Muslim factors, all Kashmiries are first Indian.

Aman
islamabad

Kashmir is one of the most intractable and thorniest disputes between India and Pakistan since their inception as independent states in 1947. Both the countries failed to meet the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and their diferences ultimately led to the sufferings of Kashmiris. Gross human rights violations by Indian forces are also a major concern of the interrnational human rights organizations. Peace and the process of normalization are impossible without the inclusion of Kashmiri leadership in any dialogue process envisaging the resolution of the dispute. Only the resolution of kashmir dispute can bring prosperity to the masses of the sub-continent.

syed moshiur rahman
dhaka, bangladesh

Kashmir should get independence. India should leave it alone.

Shashidhar Bhandary
Bangalore, Karnataka

Kashmir has been and will remain one of the most beautiful places. This can be cherished by the current generation if only the politicians around this continent shed their selfish robes and concentrate more on the regional development. The country's boundary doesn't mean anything to their citizens. If Europeans can achieve unity with different languages and economic levels, so shall the oldest civilization. Media like Frontline need to play a more active and aggressive role in promoting Harmony.

SHOWKAT RATHER
BANGLORE, KARNATAKA

There is lot to say about the miseries in Kashmir-the so called Paradise on earth, but whatever has happened has happened. I think Kashmiris will never forget, but now the need of the hour is to forget the past for sometime and make our Kashmir Paradise again.

SHOWKAT RATHER
BANGLORE, KARNATAKA

Hats off to Ami Vitale for such in depth photography. "Kashmir" for nearly one and a half decades has become a Scapegoat for both India & Pakistan. Both of these countries are interested in Kashmir geographically, Kashmiris are not taken into account. There are infinite numbers of such stoties which our cameras have not captured,the so called "security forces" are more a cause of "insecurity" for Kashmir & Kashmiris. The only solution is to leave Kashmir seperate from both Pakistan & India.
Let POK and IOK join as a new prosperous country and let it be a "Paradise" again.

karachi, asia
I want a peaceful Pakistan and peace in Kashmir and India, as well.

shyam sunder
singapore, singapore

Kashmir belongs to India. Pakistan can not ask for it. I hope that Kashmir would be freed.

Shyam

SG
Stockholm

Why do we have trouble and terrorism only with Muslim countries and Muslim related issues around the world?

TORONTO, ONTARIO
The pain and suffering on the faces and in the eyes is heartbreaking. The eyes are asking a question, why me? Who are we to give ideas what should be done to Kashmir? Let the people of Kashmir decide what they want for their future. They are living this nightmare....Live and let live.

lucknow, uttar pradesh
Kashmir is key issue for both the country i.e. Pak & India. Both countries shows their power of arms in kashmir valley. Pakistan always boost youth of Kashmiris to fight against India for the soverienghty of the Kashmir. India shows their power with the presence of military saying Kashmir is the integral part of the India.But the facts is that Kashmiri does not interested of any presence in Kashmir either India or Pak. Kashmiri believes rulers of their own Kashmiris. They can't sustain any encroachment either by Pakistan or India.

Arya Upendra
Barcelona, Catalua

After watching this video and reading most of the coments,I saw the end happening to the Kashmiri problems. Was in Kashmir 2007. The people are so nice,but like every where, most of the people are leaving unconsciously. But I think the new generation of Kashmiri women will do it.

If we want to overcome all these problems and get peace, then just act as a peaceful person, not aggressively. Be a conscious person and then make other people aware.
It is the only way to inner satisfaction and outer peace.

Mumtaz Abbasi
Barcelona, Spain

I think your photographer "VITALI" presents the real picture of the Kashmir and the situation down there. I wish one day we could have a free Kashmir.

(anonymous)
I am a Kashmiri student studying in Delhi. Every Kashmiri now wants peace, no India, no Pakistan, only peace. We have suffered a lot (OH GOD FORGIVE US).

(anonymous)
I am a Kashmiri student studying in Delhi. Every Kashmiri now wants peace ,no India, no Pakistan, only peace. We have suffered a lot(OH GOD FORGIVE US)

khaled mahmood
luton, united kingdom

I am a British man of Kashmiri descent. I lived in Azad Kashmir for 6yr. Things are just going to stay the way they are, the people are just not intrested in the Kashmir issue. The loc (line of control) will become the international border...

sajid khan
srinagar, j&k

Come what may, India has ultimately to quit Kashmir. There is absolutely no doubt about it. The earlier it does the better for its own men and resources and without soiling its image further in the world.

Sringar, Jammu & Kashmir
I have found the entire coverage extremely good & up to the point. This is an eye opener to the world as to what is happening in the troubled valley which was once a paradise.

eranakulam, kerala
According to me, of all the 28 states of India, Kashmir is the most beautiful. A NATURAL BEAUTY. But artificialy, it is the most dangerous state of India.

Waqas Shafi
New York, New York

I am a Kashmiri. I have simple words for both India and Pakistan: We don't want to be you, we want to be KASHMIR!

(anonymous)
As a Kashmiri I feel deeply thankful to the author for highlighting our plight. I would just like ask one question to the civilized world: Are we not Humans ? Don't we have the right to decide our faith? We know had we got the oil wells, the USA would have been here to help.

mct, OM
India has no rights over Kashmir. Pakistan has no rights over Kashmir. Kashmir belongs to KASHMIRIS. So both sides, let it be.

Chris Chisu
Seattle, WA

Very beautiful and moving pictures but, yeah, another proof that no one gives a damn about injustice in this world. Another photographer who went there, photographed the poor souls fighting for their daily existence, perhaps trying not to see further than the extension of the lens on the camera. Came home to the land of plenty and touring the country at posh parties presenting the slides while drinking champagne. We got used to this too.

srinagar, jammu and kashmir
There have been massive violations of human rights in Kashmir by the Indian Army.

But we don't want India or Pakistan here. We hate the militants as much as the army.
What we want is peace, freedom, and above all, dignity.

If India can't compromise on this, then Kashmir will continue to burn like the chinar leaves.

Claude Renault
Caen, France

A beautiful piece of work. The situation there is very complicated and I don't know if this work can expalin really what's going on there.

Peter Kullavanijaya
Suburban Chicago, Illinois. USA

Kashmir is so paradoxical. It's breathtakingly beautiful and yet the cruelty we inflict on each other is unspeakable.

It was just but yesterday that my neighbor and I watched a movie about Rwanda called "Sometimes In April." Everyone knows what happened there. That was some 8 to 12 years ago. Before that there were the killing fields of Cambodia as epitomized in the movie, "The Killing Fields." Most recently, the slaughter continues in Yugoslavia (sorry, I am old fashioned).

Human cruelty that we inflict on one another has no end, and no one has a monopoly on it. We will never learn any lessons from these events.

arsh m
new york city, ny

Loved your pictures, here are my words, on 'bleeding' KASHMIR

bombur te imberzal
(the bumblebee and the narcissus)


Eyes wide open,
stone like, silent.
cries gone haywire,
walls, but no echo.

Sealed lips,
smile.

barbed wires, laughing
at the crawling bombur,
under an iron roller.

Imberzal at a Photoshop
is picture perfect,
Celebrate Oh, gardener.
`peace' is the order of the day.

The legends of bombur te imberzal (the bumblebee and the narcissus) celebrate the love story of the two lovers who never meet. Their love story has found mention in numerous works of literature.

(anonymous)
The world has said a lot about Kashmir but unfortunately done very little.
Alas, my people continue to BLEED -- thanks to so called democratic state of India and Islamic republic of Pakistan.

(anonymous)
Thanks for such a beautiful and objective narration. Picture speaks thousand words. You have exposed the Machiavellian character of Indian democracy with thousands of soldiers keeping Kashmir Indian. Kashmiris never ever accept India as their country. History and the prognosis of the conflict and loss of so many innocents are the Indian creation. You point towards the forced execution of Kashmiri people by Indian Military. The data is more alarming more than 10,000 of innocent Kashmiris have disappeared in Indian Military custody. Mutilated bodies are handed over to the families.

Gogi Parwaz
Islamabad

Where is the conscience of the world, why is it mum> Why cannot the world raise its voice against brutalities in Indian-held Kashmir after witnessing rape and extra judicial killings of innocent and unarmed kashmiris? Indians should know that there is a very drastic moment ahead of them. The dismemberment of India is at the verge. The separatist moment in India are going to show the real face of the so called biggest democracy. Pakistan has never ever indulged in any Kashmir activity except to raise voice in the international community? Pakistan knows what is good for her and bad. LIVE LONG ALL WITH HAPPINESS

pras Sau
Bay Area, CA

The pictures do tell the sadness but do not provide hope. Anybody's reaction to this presentation will be dismay; and this has been the attitude of the world towards Kashmir or for that matter Darfur. Most of us who are much privileged show sympathies like this but are less willing to act.

Over the years the international communities have exacerbated this issue to fulfill their own interest. We have hundreds of examples. Look at Afghanistan, the Americans once supported people like Bin Laden to fight Russians. Same happened with Pakistan. Initially extremism in Pakistan was if not supported then tolerated by the American government in order to have an ally during the cold war. Now Americans themselves don't know how to deal with the chaos.

My point is that all the oohs and aahs don't matter until we send a message of intent to our policy makers.

Pakistan is no different than India. They both are similar nations and both are supposedly moderates. Some people in Pakistan have misguided the whole nation using Kashmir as their agenda. The agenda has now widened from Kashmir to the US and the whole muslim vs the west thing. As a matter of fact what we see today in Pakistan is not the reflection of Pakistanis. They are being misled and used. I pray for them.

Aamir Saleem
Srinagar, J&K

I have only just gone through the slides and was looking at a few comments.
There is a lot that can be said and discussed about this issue but a small albeit powerful comment made by Raju Indukuri caught my attention.

Raju , may i ask that when you call "Kashmiri Pandits as the intellectual cream of the society", what do you base that comment on? Because it signifies that the others people in the valley are of lower intellectual capacity , which is incorrect. Don't get me wrong, I have many Pandit friends but the fact is that Muslims in the valley were never encouraged towards education whereas the Pandits always being the minority were pushed in that direction.

Fact is that Pandits were more AWARE than others in the valley not as you say the "intellectual cream". Others from the valley are also excelling in their respective fields now that they are venturing out of the valley.

(anonymous)
Thank you for capturing the pain of a suffering people in these ironically stunning images. It is so easy for Indians, completely unaware of the history of occupation of Kashmir to become defensive and use the buzz word "terrorist" to describe every Kashmiri who wants freedom from the clutches of oppression. I wonder how many people realize that Kashmir is the highest militarized zone on earth. How long is India going to hide its bloody hands behind the facade of Gandhian non-violence. As you rightly said, there is not a single family or individual that has not been impacted by the terror unleashed by the Indian army in Kashmir. I am know it first hand and feel disgusted when I see occupation and oppression being called law and order in Kashmir. Thanks.

Rochester, NY
The Kashmir issue was neither created, nor sponsored, by Pakistan. Kashmiris numbering over 2 million took to the streets seeking their right to self determination, as promised by successive UN Resolutions. Debating those is not for this forum - however, you can't blame Pakistan for creating militancy in Kashmir - only those of us who have seen Indian actions in Kashmir for the last 50 years can comment on the genesis of militancy. Needless to say, in a poll taken only recently by Indian media, over 87% of Kashmiris stil yearn for Independence.

(anonymous)
Thank you for piercing into the sad plight of Kashmiris. Shame on India.

(anonymous)
We Kashmiris do appreciate the piece. I think some one has for the first time touched the real strength of Kashmir, its people in the shadow of our beautiful Land.

Ron Girn
Vancouver, British Columbia

If Kashmir should become independent from India then logically Baluchistan and Sindh should separate from Pakistan. The people of those areas also want self-rule.

mozam m
srinagar, kashmir

Mr Mudgal, come to Kashmir to bear the pain of the masses here, rather than posting irrelevant comments far removed from the facts.

(anonymous)
Great Photography. Poor analysis. And i dont blame the jounalist. The problem is bewildering from the Western Context. You want to start off by assuming a fact (Kashmir is beautiful) and then wonder why events (militancy)happen to violate those facts. Even if the jounalist has positive feelings for the issue, you end up being biased. A jounalist's work is to report. period. If you have opinions, feelings, emotions etc on the issue you are reporting on, you end up tainting the object of your analysis. One implicit assumption in this analysis is that the Kashmiri people are somehow innocent and caught in the cross-fire. The majorities of Kashmirirs today are Muslims and they have a strong sympathy for Pakistan. The problem is India can't simply bow to their wishes because, a significant minority of Kashmiris were Hindus [till the 1980s]. They were massacred and driven away from their homes with complicit sympathy of the Kashmiri Muslims. Their hastily vacated properties were taken over gleefully by the Muslims. Ironically, these are the same people whose blood and tears are being shed by the same militants who were supported by the Kashmiri Muslims. THE VICTIMIZER HAS BECOME THE VICTIM.

Truman Neuman
Markham, TX

Great stuff.

(anonymous)
I partly agree with What Mr. Ravindra Mugal has to say about Kashmir. However, I do also believe that regardless so many innocent lives are being lost in Kashmir daily. I think the British when they left never thought as to what their actions of dividing people in the name of religion would do to this beautiful land. India and Pakistan both should share responsibility for law and order in Kashmir. Because it is in neither country's interest to let the violence continue. Pakistan is already facing extremists that want to destabilize the government of Pakistan and they are killing may innocent people in Pakistan. The same people are creating troubles for India which is causing India to spend millions of rupees every year to maintain security in Kashmir. I hope someday both sides will reach some agreement and peace will prevail.

penelope hansen
villanova, pa

Beautiful, heart-rending images. Thank you.

Lynda lopez
Chicago, Il

Wow! The pictures in this slideshow are truly beautiful. These images have inspired me and now I want to spread more awareness about this conflict. It is not widely talked about and that should change.

Engin Ozay
Rochester, NY

I would love to join or start an effort of diplomatic peace for this situation.

raju indukuri
ottawa, ontario

I went to Kashmir in 1981 with my wife. We enjoyed our 4 day stay. While studying in Kerala I had a Kashmiri pundit as Junior. The story of Kashmiri Pundits, the intellectual cream of the society, is another chapter of this same story. I wish for peace but I am no longer an optimist. Politicians create problems to obscure their mistakes and there are no solutions to most of these problems, whether Kashmir or Afghanistan or Darfur.

(anonymous)
Wow, those are stunning images.Thank you for sharing them.

Pam G.
Tacoma, WA

This was heart wrenching and inspiring. I wanted to embrace those people and help them. I want to paint their faces and touch their hands. I want everyone to see this! If not for the political commentary; for the superior artistry that was rendered. The images give power to the fact that regardless of ideologies of the human race we are a singular people in form and emotion and peace must some how be reached. Thank you Ami.

Aaron Coelho
Toronto, Ontario

Kashmir would beat Paris and Venice as the most popular destination for romance if it wasn't for war.

Not only war, but recently pollution from factories and vechiles are hurting the beautiful rivers of Kasmir.

Also, it's the tricky world of politics that keeps on messing up the world, especially Kashmir.


ronald smith
New Britain, ct

As an American Muslim when I see all of the carnage of war it makes me sad because 95 percent of the people are caught in the middle with no where to run.

Tucson, Arizona
The British Empire did not "cause" the break-up of India into two states. The end of the British Epire coming so quickly, plus local history, religion, and two different cultures did dictate two states many years before the end came. At the last of Empire, the British did draw up boundries to see that as little harm as possible would come to the many people caught in bad locations, thousands of locations and millions of people. The very painful birth of two very large and very different nations came with a diasterous war and many cruel deaths---one of the great horrors of the 20th Century. For good and for bad the British Empire held together these huge and very different areas under one flag, law and governmental language during hundreds of years of mosty peace and growth.

RT Johnson
Carlsbad, CA

Lines drawn by outsiders seem only to cause conflict. When has separation of states on the basis of religions ever solved any problems? Leave them alone!

Maria Ewings
Seattle, WA

Beautiful images admist a tragic situation. I was in Kashmir in 1988, before the fighting started. I have great memories of the people I met there, and the setting. It's hard to imagine violence there. Kashmiris deserve peace.

(anonymous)
It is unfortunate that people still talk about independence rather peace.

Jolly
Los Angeles, CA

Amazing images from a beautiful place. Pakistan needs to back off just a little bit and try to manage their own country first before trying to add-on territory.

Ravindra Mudgal
San Francisco, CA

Ms.Vitale's photography does not complement her narration.
India is not "Hindu" by definition. It is predominantly Hindu in demographics.

The Indian army is being censured and made accountable for its high handedess in Kashmir. But Ms. Vitale's narrative is utterly one-sided. She does not explain why the Kashmir dispute acquired its' current contours.

Her images lead us to believe that Kashmir is India's responsibility, but does not detail how Pakistan's support for terrorism and militancy has led to the current situation.

Nor the fact, that terrorists and militants with their roots in Pakistan and the so-called Kashmiri Jihad (Holy-War) have raped the Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, who have been ethnically cleansed from the Jammu region and are not refugees within their own country.

Nor does she detail how the Kashmiri terrorists have spawned links with Al-Qaeda, the Chechens and were linked to terror strikes within the US, UK and India.

Kodachrome slideshows, no matter how beautiful, do not substitute for the truth. Pakistan, India and Ms.Vitale have to give complete narratives.

FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
May we suggest that you read the other articles and features that accompany Ami Vitale's slide show, including Anuj Chopra's dispatch and the backgrounder we prepared.

Rasal Uddin
west berlin, New Jersey

Kashmir should get independence. India should leave it alone.

Karen Everett
San Francisco, CA

Wow...what beautiful images and commentary. Thank you for creating this.

john b. gray
fox Point, wisconsin

This sensitive and informative slideshow is so evocative. I have learned from the heart and have overcome a few crazy stereotypical images in my head from numerous stories on NPR over the years. Such elegance in simplicity with this piece. Thank you!

Sara Johnson
Durham, NC

Amazingly beautiful photographs! Thank you for a window into this world. Great work.