Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia | Environment | South Asia

The Slow Death of Kashmir’s Dal Lake

Kashmir’s crown jewel is “dying,” according to the man behind a new documentary.

Vishal Arora

Dal Lake in Srinagar, also known as the “jewel in the crown of Kashmir,” is slowly “dying,” warns filmmaker Dr. Abdul Rashid Bhat in his documentary, “The Bitter Truth – Dal Losing Battle Between Locals & the Authorities.” While pollution, sewage, and encroachment are taking a heavy toll on the lake, the local government’s seemingly half-hearted efforts toward its conservation are making life hell for those who have been living on the lake for generations.

Bhat’s film features voices from angry Dal dwellers, officials, and environmentalists. In this video interview, shot in New Delhi at the PickUrFlick Indie Film Festival in May, Bhat describes the pain of the lake inhabitants, who are being forced to relocate to an area where the living conditions are equally bad, if not worse.

Bhat points out that while the efforts toward preserving the beauty of the lake are desirable, can India really neglect the future of its residents?