To Conquer Her Land
"The series is a beguiling mix of fine art portraiture, B&W documentary images and PJ style theatre-of-war shots. The mixture can be quite disorienting; blurry B&W akin to Japanese art photography interrupted by delicate double and group portraits in colour. Basu even goes all Robert-Capa on us!" - Pete Brook, Prison Photography
The Indo-Pakistan border is a land that is so vast that all lines seem to disappear. It contains deathly silence that it creates peace even on a land in the brink of war.
The border is like it’s own world. In between the wars and the smuggling of people and arms, it has seen small moments of glory; India's first women soldiers deployed to guard the border are one such moment.
Alternating between past and present, To Conquer Her Land leads us through the transformation of women into soldiers.
Asked to become sentinels in the hard and dangerous terrain between two nuclear-armed nations that have fought three all-out wars and several smaller ones.
"To Conquer Her Land is about new forms of stress – related to combatant life – that has never existed for Indian women before in history. Basu says To Conquer Her Land wrestles with “intricate issues of conflict, psychological warfare, class, youth, gender, love, peace, the concept of home, an undefined idea of patriotism, and the strength of the mind.”"
The border is an extraordinary area made all the more extraordinary for it contains a group of very ordinary women trying to redefine their identity.
"I am here to conquer the land, not fall in love with it".