- "Democracy at its peak" by Avalok Langer, Tahelka.com, 2014.05.24
- "Hikers Spread Democracy in India" by Max Bearak, The New York Times, 2014.05.12
- "The melting ice road of Zanskar" by Daniel Grushkin, Roads & Kingdoms, 2013.07.31
- "In India, Luxury Arrives in a Himalayan Haven" by Heidi Mitchell, travel.nytimes.com, 2011.01.21
- "Buddhist-Muslim Relations in Ladakh - Part 5" by Yoginder Sikand, TwoCircles.net, 2010.05.08
The 5th part of the article, brings opinions of Ladakhi Sunni Muslims. I have found the following sentences most important in this part of the story: "Ordinary Buddhists are very good people’, he stresses, laying the blame for boycott on local politicians", "Religious leaders have a very crucial role to play in promoting dialogue", "Togdan Rinpoche, head lama of the Phyang gompa calls for the separation of religion from politics, arguing that conflating the two generally leads to communal conflict", "Islam seeks to bridge differences between people and communities, not to create new ones".
comment by Radek Kucharski; 2010.05.08
- "Buddhist-Muslim Relations in Ladakh - Part 4" by Yoginder Sikand, TwoCircles.net, 2010.05.07
In the 4th part of the article, the author brings opinions of some Shi'a Muslims Ladakhis. The most interesting of the interviews included is the one with Shaikh Mirza. It is a wise voice regarding not only Muslim-Buddhist relationships in Ladakh, but also inter-religious relationships in general as well as the place of Islam in the modern world.
These are sentences that I've found most interesing in the article: "girls' education is perhaps more important than boys. To educate a girl is to educate the entire family", "Islam teaches us to move along with the times, not to reject modernity altogether", "Islam positively encourages its followers to live in peace with others. Jihad, in the sense of physical warfare, is allowed only when one's religion or life is under threat, [...] In Ladakh, [...] the Muslims enjoy freedom of religion, and so talk of jihad against India is absurd", "Even if the Buddhists do not believe in God, Muslims must learn to live with them in peace", "Since we live in a multi-religious society, we all must learn to compromise otherwise we simply cannot co-exist", "There is nothing in Islam to prevent a Muslim from appreciating the good things in other religions", "one can genuinely appreciate the truths contained in other religions, while still being a proper Muslim", "The Dalai Lama apparently told the Buddhists [...] that they must consider the Muslim minority to be in their care and protection and must ensure that no harm befalls them". It is a very comforting article!
comment by Radek Kucharski; 2010.05.07
- "Buddhist-Muslim Relations in Ladakh - Part 3" by Yoginder Sikand, TwoCircles.net, 2010.05.06
In the third part of his article, the author brings opinions of a few members of Ladakhi community, on the current situation of Muslim-Buddhist relations. "Different religions, [...] are different ways for proper living", "‘Yes, maybe the boycott was wrong, maybe it was un-Buddhist’. He, however, continues to maintain that it was a ‘natural reaction’ to Kashmiri and Argon ‘wrong-doings’.", "religious leaders must play a pro-active role in promoting better relations between Muslims and Buddhists, because that is not a task that can be left to the politicians alone", "Since no humans think exactly alike, they should be free to believe in whatever they want, and must respect the freedom of others to do so" - the authors spokesmen say. An interesting reading, not only for the case of Ladakh, but for the global.
comment by Radek Kucharski; 2010.05.06
- "Buddhist-Muslim Relations in Ladakh - Part 2" by Yoginder Sikand, TwoCircles.net, 2010.05.05
The relations between Buddhists and Muslims in Ladakh do not go as peacefully in recent years as in the past. According to the author, the reasons are mainly political, but "Religion in Ladakh is, as elsewhere, often used as a mobilisational device by politicians, both Muslims as well as Buddhists, which leads to further mistrust between the communities." The article makes me think about another analysis of conflicts between Muslims and Buddhists in Ladakh mentioned also in another topic of this forum
comment by Radek Kucharski; 2010.05.05
- "Buddhist-Muslim Relations in Ladakh - Part 1" by Yoginder Sikand, TwoCircles.net, 2010.04.30
Although Ladakh, regarded as the Little Tibet, has an opinion of being a Buddhist country, it has in fact a mixed Buddhist-Muslim community! Furthermore, there are both Shia and Sunni Muslims here. This is an interesting article on relationship between followers of two so different religions. The relations have been far from hostile through the ages and the two communities are far from being distant. "Ladakh has never known the sort of communal violence that many other parts of India have witnessed." - writes the author.
comment by Radek Kucharski; 2010.05.01
- "Luxury in spiritual Ladakh, India" by Ian Belcher, Times Online, 2010.04.24
The article made me wonder about the luxurious treks in Ladakh. I understand that bringing luxury to Ladakh is the only way to attract some tourists, but I am also convinced, that luxurious treks as they are being proposed today, should not be offered any more, if Ladakh is to protect its most important values like clean, balanced but very fragile environment.
Many companies arranging treks in Ladakh, seem to bring five-star hotels to over 4000 metres high camps in deserted mountains. They bring many things, like chairs, tables, which are not really necessary! As the effect, numbers of packed animals and staff members are needed. It often happens, that there are more crew members and more horses in a group than tourists!
Thousands of bottled drinks are being brought but hardly anyone cares to carry away the waste they produce. I observed many times, that they are being thrown directly to a river!
The Ladakhi environment is a fragile one. The people that have been living here for hundreds of years, have learned to use its limited resources in a balanced way securing not only the contemporary life but also that of the future generations. If Ladakh is to survive and if tourism in the region is to flourish through many years in the future bringing incomes to the local community, this balance must not be destroyed, and the balance must be brought to tourism.
As the number of tourist visiting the region grows fast (20000 at the beginning of the century, over 80 thousands in 2008), the impact on the environment grows fast too. It must mean resigning the luxurious treks and turning into balanced and conscious tourism. Trekking in small groups, relaying on accommodation and food in villages (homestay), transport based on local community's animals and limiting the number of goods carried to the mountains must be encouraged!
It may mean, that some of the tourist will not wish to come to non-luxurious conditions. This is however the price to be paid for saving the values of Ladakh, which will keep on attracting tourists for many years.
comment by Radek Kucharski; 2010.04.29
- "Globalisation And Terror" by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Countercurrents.org, 2010.03.06
The article brings an interesting approach to the discussion on causes of the rise of terrorism in recent years. The author claims, that the globalisation is the main factor that raises tensions between different social groups. She puts her reasoning on the example of Ladakh, where the sudden exposure to television, western films, advertising, combined with the flood of products of global economy and the changes in education, not only shaken the self-esteem of the people and broke the social ties between them, but also brought to the surface conflicts between Muslims and Buddhists that hardly ever existed.
comment by Radek Kucharski; 2010.05.04
- "The Economics Of Happiness" by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Countercurrents.org, 2010.02.26
The author, who has been visiting Ladakh frequently since mid-1970s, puts the changes in the region as an example of processes that are undergoing in the world. The decline of social ties and self-esteem in the face of globalization that happen suddenly in Ladakh in the past 30 years, is - she claims - a good example of processes that happen in, so called, "developed" countries. The growing number of people suffering depressions, feelings of deep insecurity that become more common in the western countries - these are the results, as the author suggests, of based-on-marketing media campaigns which influence us since early childhood, the growing consumption and related to it greed and envy. The problems are already great today "In Japan, it is estimated that one million youths refuse to leave their bedrooms", "over 31 million prescriptions for anti-depressants were handed out in the UK last year" - says the author, and are growing fast. The way out is - as the author says - localisation: community-based economy. It brings more relations between the people and that is a foundation of sustainability and happiness.
Helena Norberg-Hodge is the author of a great book about Ladakh: "Ancient Futures. Learning from Ladakh." - a must to be read book for anybody intending to travel through Ladakh consciously! For more about the book see here
comment by Radek Kucharski; 2010.05.01
- "The Great White" by Neha Sumitran, National Geographic TRAVELLER India,
A personal story about the Chadar experience from a first-time trekker.
comment by Radek; 2014.04.15