Along the LoC, remnants of ’71 war and a heartbreaking tale

Fifty-five-year-old Goba Ali was just five when he was separated from his parents following the 1971 war. Photos: Murtaza Fazily; Image: Eunice Dhivya.

Borders, they say, are just lines on land, and not hearts. But ask 55-year-old Mohamed Ali and he will tell you how a single line can break hundreds of hearts and homes. A resident of Thang near Turtuk in the Leh district of Ladakh, Ali -- more popularly known as Goba Ali -- lives in the last village on India-Pakistan border.

Ali’s father and brothers, however, live across the barbed wires in Franu village, the last post from Pakistan. Between them lies a gurgling river Shyok.

Turtuk was not known to the outside world until 2010 when the village was opened for tourism. Ever since, the area has attracted a good number of domestic and international tourists.

Geographically a part of Baltistan, it is predominantly inhabited by the Balti Muslim community. Apart from the picturesque place and lush green fields of barley and apricot, Turtuk and four other villages -- Chulunka, Tyakshi, Thang and Grari -- came under India during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

To continue reading this article...

You have to be a Premium Subscriber

Start your subscription with a free trial

Enjoy unlimited Eighth column, archives and games on and and many more features.
You will also be supporting ethical and unbiased journalism.
plans start from Rs. 99
Get breaking news and latest updates from India
and around the world on