UNREST IN LADAKH: Did the ‘foreign hand’ strike again?

A Rejoinder

In the September/October issue of Himal, Siddiq Wahid offered his views on the causes of the recent turmoil in Ladakh. According to this scholar, the cause of the unrest in this sensitive border area is neither economic nor political, as Ladakhi leaders themselves have suggested, but a phenomenon of 'intellectual colonialism' as Mr. Wahid termed it.

Wahid asserts that the Ladakhis, particularly the Buddhist community, have been "corrupted" by Western scholars and their books. He blames the "rupture of the fabric of Ladakhi. society's health" exclusively on prejudiced Westerners, who he claims have not only mistaken Ladakhi culture as being part of Tibetan culture, but even succeeded in planting this idea into the heads of Ladakhis. An amazing case of indoctrination perpetrated by those unscrupulous Westerners, who have no other aim, but … but what? Apparently, the author argues, the poor, misguided Ladakhis have been lured into believing that their culture is unique and exclusively Buddhist in nature. And, apparently, this is why Muslims and Buddhists no longer live in the perfect harmony that the author implies prevailed earlier.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian