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Dangerous Borders: A Journey across India and Pakistan

Series 1

Episode 1

Duration: 59 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Two EnglandLatest broadcast: on BBC Four

Journalists Babita Sharma and Adnan Sarwar are beginning their epic journey along the still-contentious border that divides India and Pakistan. Seventy years after the Partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, the pair are travelling either side of the 2,000-mile border to discover the realities of the lives there. Beginning in Adipur, which started life as a refugee camp for Hindus fleeing the newly created Muslim state of Pakistan, Babita discovers a town which now intriguingly hosts the only Charlie Chaplin festival in the world. Gandhi, who was born here in Gujarat, met Chaplin in Britain in 1931, and the memory of this unlikely friendship is kept alive today by this event.

On the other side of the border, Adnan explores the cultural life of the metropolis of Karachi. Creatives are often at the forefront of social change, whether through art which questions social norms or fashion, which is creating a role for itself on the 21st-century international catwalk. Women in both countries are challenging how they have been traditionally constrained, from the women bikers who Babita meets in India to the female artist in Pakistan who asks potentially dangerous questions about female sexuality and a young woman who believes that she will win Pakistan's first gold Olympic medal for boxing.

Adnan also meets members of the Sheedis, a little-known African community who have lived on the Indian subcontinent for over 800 years and who are now fighting discrimination in Pakistan. Babita travels north into the salt flats of the Rann of Kutch, whose residents are held back by the caste system. Here, lives have barely changed since partition and there seems little will to make these people's lives better.

The journeys both end in the mighty Thar Desert, which was split between the two countries and which has been the scene of conflict as recently at 1999. Whether Indian or Pakistani, this is a virtually uncrossable border. Partition left searing scars and divided families that, 70 years later, are still not reconciled. Show less

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