union territory administered by India

Ladakh (Ladakhi: ལ་དྭགས་; lit. "land of high passes") is a region administered by India as a union territory that currently extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. It constitutes an eastern portion of the larger Kashmir region that has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947 and India and China since 1959. It is one of the most sparsely populated areas of India and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture.

Quotes about Ladakh

J. Crook, J. Low: When I first went to Ladakh in the early eighties, Leh was the centre of a drive for westernisation in the Indian mode.
  • A number of Ladakhi intellectuals and some of the more widely educated monks have gradually responded to the Western interest in Tibetan Buddhism. When I first went to Ladakh in the early eighties, Leh was the centre of a drive for westernisation in the Indian mode. Everything traditional was old hat, waiting to be discarded. Over the years this attitude has changed.... The fact that Westerners may take the doctrines of liberation seriously and practise intensively has impressed Ladakhis, particularly when they realise how ill equipped they are to respond to the searching questions Westerners habitually ask.
    • J. Crook, J. Low: The Yogins of Ladakh
  • As if this is not enough, there is a deliberate and organised design to convert Kargil's Buddhists to Islam. In the last four years, about 50 girls and married women with children were allured and converted from village Wakha alone. If this continues unchecked, we fear that Buddhists will be wiped out from Kargil in the next two decades or so. Anyone objecting to such allurement and conversions is harassed... Therefore, to protect the religious and cultural identity of the Ladakhi people, an anti-conversion law must be enacted for Kargil as is presently in force in states like Arunachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
    • Tundup Tsering and Tsewang Nurboo of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, quoted in: Koenraad Elst: Bharatiya Janata Party vis-à-vis Hindu resurgence, also quoted in K. Elst (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism.
  • When Kashmir was under Muslim rule for 500 years, Hindus were constantly tortured and forcibly converted. A delegation of Kashmir Brahmans approached Guru Teg Bahadur at Anadpur Saheb to seek his help. But Kashmir was Islamized. Those who fled to preserve their religion went to Laddakh in the east and Jammu in the south. It is for this reason that non-Muslims are found in large number in these regions.
  • People [in Ladakh] were so so at ease with themselves and with the world, and so full of vitality and joy... I saw step-by-step how the outside consumer culture was destroying local businesses and jobs, particularly farming. Everything about the local culture became under-valued or – more than that – seen as primitive and backward. I saw how destructive that was for people.
    • Helena Norberg-Hodge quoted in Wellbeing campaigner: society should shape business – not the other way round, by Anna Leach, The Guardian, (18 Jul 2017)
  • In the past, Ladakhi children learned the skills needed to survive, even to prosper, in their difficult environment: they learned to grow food, tend for animals, build houses from local materials. But in the new Westernized schools, children were instead provided with skills appropriate for a fossil fuel-based, urban life within a globalized economy – a way of life in which almost every need is imported.
    • Globalization and Extremism - Join the Dots, Helena Norberg-Hodge, New Internationalist, (4 February 2020)
  • Helena Norberg-Hodge... in her book Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World, she showed us how Ladakh was once a happy place before its initiation to Western ideas and material goods. From her own experience of living in Ladakh, she wrote that earlier interdependency in the community was very strong but everything changed socially, ecologically and economically after so-called ‘development’ took place there.
    • How Buddhist Economics and Bhutan’s happiness model show us the path in post-COVID era, Biswajit Jha, Times Now. (30 June 2020)
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