21 October, 2020

What Does Ladakh Want?

Photograph by PTI
What Does Ladakh Want?

Ladakh has finally got a political status under the sun, for the region has been long suffering due to the protracted nature of the political crisis in J&K. For a long time, circumstances never allowed Ladakh to shape its own political identity. Intermittent attempts by people to voice their local aspirations were either ruthlessly crushed or skilfully outmanoeuvred by political masters from outside. None of the demands raised by Ladakh, some of them predating J&K’s merger with the Indian Union, has been fulfilled. The reasons are numerous, but essentially Srinagar and New Delhi have so far succeeded in exploiting the simplicity, backwardness and fragility of Ladakh, and also played on local faultlines to keep the region under their thumb.

Being a small community, there was a limit to how much Ladakh could withstand the pulls and pressures of political dynamics elsewhere at the national level. Moreover, Ladakh has its own specific and distinctive social, political and economic issues, which cannot be addressed by juxtaposing or over-identifying with the...



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