Walking in Circles in Zanskar

Walking in Circles in Zanskar

This is very moving film interweaving two stories: an expedition make to Zanskar in the 1950s by three British housewives, and a look at the changes overcoming the region today.

As with some other films I have shown about Ladakh (Economics of Happiness, Schooling the World, Ancient Futures) what we see in these remote Himalayan regions is the long delayed breakdown of their cultures with the impact of modernisation.

None of this is simple. On the one hand there are benefits that come with schooling and economic opportunity, on the other hand there is no doubt that the erosion of traditional values is having a negative effect on these lands.

In one part of this film we see three intrepid British housewives, married to mountain climbers, who decided to have their own adventure in India in the 50s, and somehow managed to gain entry and film in the forbidden land of Zanskar, and their reflections of it 50 years later.

In the other half we see what happens when ancient cultures are exposed to modern education and the global economy on the one hand, and what appears to be the effect of global warming on the other, as locusts move into the valley and destroy their crops season after season.

Of course what is happening in Zanskar is also happening in many other parts of the world too, and the impact of modernisation has the same destructive effect on indeginous culture everywhere. As some of the other films show there are signs of hope also, but for now the pressure on these cultures is only growing.


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