INVISIBLE NOMADS OF THE HIMALAYAS: A LIFE CAUGHT IN TURMOIL

Invisible Nomads of Himalayas: A life Caught in Turmoil
Praveen K. Chaudhry, PhD
(In collaboration with Alexander Papakonstadinou, Omar Kabeer, Souzeina Mushtaq, Trupal Pandya)

As humans, on this beautiful yet versatile Earth, we are put on an expedition which gives us the opportunity to learn, grow, understand, and experience an alternative to our known, natural habitats.

For last few years, I have been wandering on the rooftops of the world in places like Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal and Changtang in Tibet. The turmoil in these ancient lands is of international significance; yet the beauty, the simplicity, and the endearing smiles of people are overwhelming. With the flash of a camera and the flirty look of an eye, we captured faces—faces worn from the strain of desiring peace, faces gleaming with the hope for a better day, faces adorned with the simplicity in its purest form. I focus on this simplicity in my photos.

An unplanned project, the outcome was displayed when we looked at each photograph that tells the story of an ancient nomadic community located in the Himalayan mountains. This community has supplied the world with the demand for precious luxury products like Cashmere and Pashmina. It is a hospitable community, living in tune with harsh laws of nature, and migrating at least twice a year to different parts of Kashmir and the Changtang, Tibet.

In recent times, very little attention has been paid to their changing lifestyles. The process of urbanization, population pressure, growing conflict in the state, environmental degradation, and globalization is so intense that no one can possibly stop the unwilling desire of this community to shift from a nomad to a semi-nomadic, and eventually to a stable life.

This cloistered way of life, which has remained insulated from the modern world for centuries, now faces the inevitable force of disintegration. These pictures have tried to capture the details of this harsh and painful transformation.

  • Praveen K. Chaudhry
    Director
  • Trupal Pandya
    Producer
  • Alexander Papakonstadinou
    Producer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 8, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Praveen K. Chaudhry

Praveen K. Chaudhry PhD, is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Fashion Institute of Technology / State University of New York (SUNY). A recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities, his recent works in visual ethnographies have focused on the impact of globalization, problems of state formation, and understanding resistance movements through the eyes of nomads and weavers in Kashmir and parts of the Tibetan Plateau. The evolutionary processes of this project have been on display in several galleries in the United States, India and Mexico, which include Galerie Romain Rolland - Alliance Française de Delhi, Museo de la Ciudad de Querétaro and Marvin Feldman Center FIT, New York City.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

As humans, on this beautiful yet versatile Earth, we are put on an expedition which gives us the opportunity to learn, grow, understand, and experience an alternative to our known, natural habitats.

For last few years, I have been wandering on the rooftops of the world in places like Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal and Changtang in Tibet. The turmoil in these ancient lands is of international significance; yet the beauty, the simplicity, and the endearing smiles of people are overwhelming. With the flash of a camera and the flirty look of an eye, we captured faces—faces worn from the strain of desiring peace, faces gleaming with the hope for a better day, faces adorned with the simplicity in its purest form. I focus on this simplicity in my photos.

An unplanned project, the outcome was displayed when we looked at each photograph that tells the story of an ancient nomadic community located in the Himalayan mountains. This community has supplied the world with the demand for precious luxury products like Cashmere and Pashmina. It is a hospitable community, living in tune with harsh laws of nature, and migrating at least twice a year to different parts of Kashmir and the Changtang, Tibet.

In recent times, very little attention has been paid to their changing lifestyles. The process of urbanization, population pressure, growing conflict in the state, environmental degradation, and globalization is so intense that no one can possibly stop the unwilling desire of this community to shift from a nomad to a semi-nomadic, and eventually to a stable life.

This cloistered way of life, which has remained insulated from the modern world for centuries, now faces the inevitable force of disintegration. These pictures have tried to capture the details of this harsh and painful transformation.