India, Pak lack political will to resolve Kashmir: Nandita Das
Picture: Habib Naqash.
Noted actor and film director, Nandita Das said Thursday the politicians in India and Pakistan lacked the political will to resolve the outstanding issues, including Kashmir.“If there would have been political will on both sides, I think the issue would have been resolved by now,” Nandita, who returned to valley after 25 years, said during an interaction with Kashmiri artist and media students during a session on “Role of Cinema in Social Change” organised by the Anhad Institute of Media Studies here at Hotel Broadway.
Referring to the fall of Berlin wall in Germany, she said things were happening very fast around the world, but India and Pakistan were not moving forward due to ego problems.
She said both countries were investing massive amount in arms deal. “The stand off between the two countries has more of an economic interest than political,” Nandita said, adding that some of the people on both sides of the border were getting benefitted from it.
Nandita said that many people on both sides of the border were dying of hunger and were not receiving basic education, while as their politicians were pumping money in arms deal without any justification.
She said the increase in cultural exchanges and people to people contacts between India and Pakistan would pressurize them to resolve the outstanding issues including Kashmir. “The Indo-Pak peace process moves two steps ahead and three steps behind,” she said, adding the people should continue building pressure on both the countries to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Nandita acknowledged that the bollywood was not portraying real picture of Kashmir. “These jingoistic films are breeding stereotypes,” she said without identifying any bollywood flick made on Kashmir. Nandita cautioned that misrepresentation could be dangerous and should be avoided at any cost.
Nandita said the people of valley were anguished and saddened for not being represented in the manner they should be. “I respect the anger of the people,” she said.
Commenting on her directorial debut, Firaaq, she said the movie was a fictional account on the repercussions of the dreadful communal riots of Gujarat in 2002. She said Firaaq was very well acclaimed also in Pakistan and even bagged an award at a film festival in Karachi. “However Firaaq also had many critics in India who described me as pro-Muslim for highlighting the pathetic condition of Muslims in Gujarat after riots.” she said.
“The role of cinema in social change is subtle and that is why it is more impactful. I have tried to be part of stories that I feel need to be told and heard, but the space for such films is shrinking. Hope someday more stories will come out of here, so the rest of the country and the world at large gets a true picture of the lives of the people of this beautiful place.”
Director, Anhad Institute of Media Studies, Srinagar, Gowhar Raza said, “Some people have to take the responsibility in shaping the younger generations. Students here are very bright but the exposure is lacking into them.”