Lines that meet, lines that divide and imaginary lines that are always in transition. The boundary lines of South Asia are the product of their history. The only permanence in the nature of borders is their constant change. As nations rose only to fall, the boundaries of states kept changing through the ages. As the British Empire turned into the nation states of post-colonial South Asia, there grew new boundaries. Some old lines became stronger, crossing others became easier than before and some boundaries were drawn, where for centuries there were none. While Frontiers are formed through the nuances of physical terrain, Borders arise from the extent of nations and demographics. Boundaries on the other hand are drawn by states, imaginary lines that define territory and demarcate nationhood. Frontiers are not always at the edges of the state, sometimes they are well within. Some regions fall on the fringes of state regulation, often becoming peripheries on the inside. The borderlands of South Asia have histories and realities built on their geographic position. The edges of states are rarely discussed and barely understood. Despite this these are lands with extensive histories that require remembering and millions of stories that need chronicling.
Project Frontier Pass is an attempt to merge the world of long term research and photo documentation. An attempt to generate through extensive study and visual media, an expansive research on the the terrain and territories of the fringe. To understand spaces in south asia that exist at the periphery of states and the border of nations. We began our project as a partnership between a photographer who works in photo-documentation in the Himalayas and a research student specializing in Indian history and the history of borderlands in south asia, we began to explore peripheral spaces primarily along the Indian border. These regions as we understood it where not peripheries in themselves, but peripheries to nation states. Regions that had their political and economic place defined by their position at the fringe of modern states.
-Text by- Anand Damodaran