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A refreshing account of Lolab valley

Lolab-A valley in the Himalayas, is a beautifully narrated, national award-winning, short documentary by Mohiuddin Mirza. It presents a picturesque glimpse of the breathtaking and unexplored oval-shaped Himalayan sub valley, Lolab.

The anthropological documentary was screened at the Media Centre of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) recently as part of the IGNCA Film Circle which screens two films a month, on the second and fourth Friday respectively.

The documentary revolves around the arresting beauty of the Lolab valley which is known for it’s mountains, lush green fields, fruit orchards, streams,valleys and ancient springs. It touches upon the lives of Lolabies, the natives of Lolab, who continue to live joyously despite the trials and tribulations faced by the harsh weather and seclusion of the geographical location. They reside inside wooden rooftop homes, only go to the forest to fetch things for the essential means of survival and still depend on the barter system for the exchange of goods, food and services. Also known as The Fruit Bowl of Kashmir, Lolab is replete with fruity bounties like a variety of fruit trees ranging from apple, cherry, apricot, walnut and peach.

“I have been suffering from a pain in the chest for past few days and I can only reach for a doctor across the mountains,” the documentary captured an inhabitant of the
valley as saying. Even today, the Lolab residents lack basic amenities of healthcare and electricity and resort to the bizarre tribal rituals and medical practices called Daag. This is a practice that treats acute back and joint pains. Kangri is a traditional fire pot used as a portable heater and keeps the Lolabies warm during extreme weather conditions. 

“I came to watch the documentary out of curiosity but one thing that startled me the most was the tribal medication practices and the Kangri cancer, which has started affecting the inhabitants,” Jyoti, a travel consultant who came to watch the screening,
tells Metrolife.

The Kangri cancer is caused by the continuous contact of the Kangri baskets which the Lolabies keep inside their Pheran for warmth. Often this causes skin pigmentation and later cancer, because of the intense heat.The caves of Kalaroos is one spot frequently visited by the tourists and has a lot of myths attached to it.

On being asked what compelled people to come and watch the documentary, Anuskha, member at the Ambedkar University Centre for Community Knowledge smiled and said, “My busy routine life keeps me trapped in the city and I was missing the mountains.”
“I have seen many outsiders record their accounts of Lolab, but this documentary was definitely different and had an inside take which showed us the reality of the Lolabi lifestyle” Arun Dayal Bhatia, an IT consultant tells Metrolife.

The reasons for watching the documentary were many and varied but the one thing everyone agreed on was that Lolab is an engaging interactive documentary that highlights the ordinary lives of the Lolabies and leaves an extraordinary impact on the viewers, fuelling their desire to go to the mountains.

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