I took these photos earlier this year at the edge of the Thar Desert, outside the Fort of Jaisalmer in Rajastan, India. The fort was the first trading post in India on the old Silk Route to the Middle East. From there, the camel trains would cross the desert on the way to Pakistan.
This region is of course also centrally involved with the current political and military actions.
When I was there, I was struck by peace and tranquility of the desert, and how it was occasionally shattered by the noise of Indian jet fighters manuevering from the nearby airbase, patrolling the boarder with Pakistan. There was a palpable sense even then that there was a thin veneer of calm over a tinderbox, waiting to explode at the least provocation.
The villages we visited, scattered around the edge of the Thar Desert, used to be vibrant trading communities. They are now impoverished as trade has fallen off at the heavily armed border. The saddest thing to me, however, was listening to the people who are completely cut-off from family, relatives, and friends who live close by, but on the other side of the border.
Copyright © Peter Kacandes, 2001.