Solutions for the people and natural environment of Kashmir

by Shah Badyari

A boat transporting vegetablesThanks to the Permaculture Association for keeping us updated with news and other opportunities in permaculture world. My name is Shah and my origin is from Kashmir in India, my wife and I have been living in UK for some years now.

Kashmir has been in conflict and politically disturbed for many decades and particularly since last 3 decades. I have lived myself through the conflict at the grass roots level in Kashmir for many years, and now l have been living in the UK for some years.  

We have been always looking for solutions and answers to take back to the home land in order to help the people and natural environment of Kashmir.

After many years of longing to find creative ways to discover non-political solutions to the problems that modern­ day Kashmir faces, decades of confusion, loss of livelihoods, tragic loss of lives on all sides, and the accompanying degradation of the environment due to the on­going conflict, during which time India and Pakistan have fought over who has the right to this land, the realization became clear to us, after attending the International Permaculture Convergence in the UK in 2015, that perhaps permaculture could shine a new light onto old problems. 

Climate change solutionsAfter completing our Permaculture Design Course, we strongly felt that by introducing permaculture into the Kashmir Valley, that we could implement the principles of permaculture as the new torch bearer for hope and creative solutions to age­-old and unresolved problems in the region. If the issue is the fight over to whom the land belongs then let's start the healing from the land itself, and the involvement of the people with the land. At the heart of our concern would be earth care, people care and fair shares.

Green Kashmir

With this vision of a peaceful, non-political solution to the Kashmir dilemma we have set up an organization Green Kashmir to introduce permaculture practices and principles in the Kashmir valley. I was very fortunate to meet Rosemary Morrow from Australia and Alice Gray from the UK, and both ladies specialized in taking permaculture in conflict zones. Rosemary Morrow has been mentoring us from a distance and we launched our permaculture project in Kashmir in September 2016.

We have successfully carried out a 2-day course introduction to permaculture in the most trying, difficult and dangerous of times in Kashmir, and we made connections with farmers, growers, lawyers, journalists, shikara men, houseboat owners, flower growers, academics, young students, humanitarian NGOs, and well known experts like Vandana Shiva.

We laid the foundation for permaculture in the Kashmir Valley and left with new permaculture students and new partnerships in place with new hope. We are regularly in touch with the students to see how they are doing and to keep them updated with our progress here in the UK.

We all know this was a beginning of our important work together, but lot of work has to be done now to sustain what we have started and to help to make the real difference to the land and people of Kashmir. The size of the work which needs to be done in Kashmir with the communities and the land is enormous and will need lot of lot of resources and lot of people on board with expertise in projects like this.

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