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Can we rely on social networking sites for news!
Leh, Monday, April 20, 2015 : Everybody is a journalist these days.Everyone has a news to share, does not matter how he got the news, from where did he get it and what is the credibility of such a news.One will say what one has to say.These words 'Freedom of expression', believe it or not, I hear so much that now its boring me to death.

Facebook, twitter, whatsapp etc imagine life without all these in today’s time.These are the channels people use to vent their 'freedom of expression' anger. I remember the story when once Ralph Waldo Emerson was walking on a footpath when another person came swinging his walking stick. Upon which Ralph told him it might hit someone walking on the footpath. The man promptly stated that it was within his right to do whatever he pleases. Ralph replied "your freedom to swing your stick ends where my nose begins"! Amusing as it is his answer but how thoughtful. ...
By Hajira Bano Balkhang
The use, misuse and abuse of the mobile phone
Technology and a culture of disrespectfulness do not mix
Leh, Monday, April 20, 2015 : The dramatic rise in the misuse of mobile phone rings alarm bells. There is no doubt that technology has advanced more this half-century than it ever has. ...
By Rinchen Angmo Chumikchan
Polluted flows the Indus near Choglamsar Bridge
Choglamsar, Tuesday, April 14, 2015 : Indus River which is popularly called as ‘Singay Ltsangspo’ or  ‘Sindhu Nadhi’  in Ladakh  is one of the major source which provide drinking water to the people of Leh city and its surrounding areas like Choglamsar, Agling and Spituk. More than that it also provides water for the villages like Shey, Chuchot, Stakna for agriculture.  In the past decades, the water of this river is polluted by the people. The very river that is the life source of many is fast turning into a heap of Garbage near Choglamsar Zampa (Bridge).

By Padma Angmo
Women, stay safe!
Leh, Tuesday, April 14, 2015 : A region like Ladakh which is known for its honesty, selflessness and humanity people are losing their qualities, for which an outsider used to visit us just to see its people and their way of living. Today in Ladakh many crimes are taking place just like other countries. Especially women feel insecure to go outside the house; even a school student has not been forgiven.

By Padma Angmo
Amrutdhara: An initiative to provide affordable clean water with zero plastic waste
Leh, Tuesday, March 31, 2015 : Three years ago the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council(LAHDC) Leh proposed to impose a complete ban on mineral water bottles to reduce its environmental impact on Ladakh’s fragile ecosystem as plastic bottles heavily contribute to the solid waste.  The initiative was also meant to provide employment opportunities to the unemployed youths by establishing safe drinking water filling stations of their own. Despite LAHDC’s best intention, the decision later had to be reconsidered as an alternative was not easily available then. Amrutdhara could perhaps become one of the solutions to such initiatives which can gradually be expanded to the entire country in a phase manner. 

By Tsewang Rigzin
People of Ladakh: its origin
Leh, Tuesday, March 31, 2015 : The present day population of Ladakh is the result of blending together of the Dards, the Mons, and the Mongolians cites Ladakh District Census Handbook, 1961. It further explains that except for some stray commentaries and hazy accounts the past history of the district is shrouded in mystery. 
In any case, it is believed that the district was first inhabited by a tribe of nomads who tended their herds in the small valleys of Ladakh. The rock carvings which have been preserved to this day indicate that they chased the Kiang or the Wild Sheep.
By Sartic Aersang
Lhakhang serpo-the first Gelugpa School of Ladakh
Stakmo, Tuesday, March 31, 2015 : The Lhakhang serpo is situated in the middle of Stakmo village which is about 25 km away at an elevated height of 12,675 feet. The upper highland part of the village is bestowed with various kinds of herbs, flora, fauna and hot springs which is believed for curing many diseases. Mountain shape appears to be like Eight auspicious symbols (Tashis Stag gyat).  Besides mountains has many self-created or natural evolved (Rangjon) like that of Lord Buddha, Chamsreng, Gonbo, Lamo, Sung bum and many more.

By Kunzang Dolma Stakmo
Demystifying the status of a Ladakhi woman!
Leh, Friday, March 13, 2015 : What do they say about self love? That it should be accompanied by self critique. We Ladakhis give ourselves a lot of credit when it comes to thinking positive for and about women in Ladakh. We like to believe that our society is one where women enjoy equal rights more or less in every sphere of life. To some extent the benefit of doubt we give ourselves is true; our women do enjoy a very good status as compared to women outside Ladakh.

With the same perception of equality, independence and growth, 64 women from different walks of Leh including members of Panchayat, Self Help Groups, 2010 Leh flash flood victims, journalists, teacher and members of different NGOs and women representative of two major political parties of Leh set out for an exposure tour on ‘Women Leadership’ to various places in India like Rajasthan, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

By Hajira Bano Balkhang
Ladakh : ephemeral beauty with mounting challenges.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014 : Folk Lore of vicitimsation
Deelip Padgaonkar, Chairman of group of interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir had very rightly labeled the three regions playing the cards of “Competitive victimization”. Though the report created only an ephemeral noise, it lies now in cold storage of north block. Ladakh has been playing this card since independence but using this card now would be naive as argument without any credible proof and statistic would be lost in air. Any sane advice would be if you are victim fight for it within the means and parameters. The report also spilled some beans, on the functioning of the autonomous district hill councils. It noted the two district hill councils never had single joint meeting. Perhaps this was the reason that now the two councils have started to talk and talk together with Srinagar.

By Rinchen Tundup
Ladakh 1994 – Number that Rings!
Tuesday, December 30, 2014 : Numbers; we can hate them, but never ignore. No matter how much we try to keep them at bay, they would creep in; for counting, is one of the fundamental faculties of human psyche. ...
By Lhundup Gyalpo
HALF WIDOW, HALF WIFE- The story of Kashmiri women
Delhi, Thursday, December 18, 2014 : As per Hannah Ardent “Violence stands in opposition to power and nothing is worse than combination of violence and power. Gender is a system of social hierarchy in which masculine characteristics are more valued than feminine ones. So violence based on gender share deep relationship. Women all over India faces physical as well as mental violence which is either domestic (patriarchal family) or other factors like war, military rule, communal, caste and ethnic identity e.g., in Gujarat riots 2002 mass rape in Surat of Muslim women. Also in states like Bihar and Haryana atrocities against Dalit women is done by upper caste men. In north-eastern states like Manipur and Nagaland women face violence by military. Kashmiri women tales of violence is horrifying and long lasting. Kashmir lies at heart of India and Pakistan and it is important to understand that Kashmir conflict poses a complex humanitarian issue and it is also important to understand that preventing gender violence goes hand in hand with establishing lasting peace in the state.

By Jegmet Spaldon
Karbala: A universal philosophy
Leh, Wednesday, November 5, 2014 : In the annals of history, every now and then we come across events and personalities that affect and shape human belief and faith for centuries to come. The teachings of Christ, Buddha and Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) brought about paradigm shifts in people’s abstraction of religion. Saints and holy men have swayed people’s cogitation throughout history. But few events and personalities are as powerful and as tragic as the event of Karbala and the personality of Imam Hussain (A.S)
With the appearance of new moon of Moharram, grief and pain is evident on the faces of Muslims worldwide and particularly the Shia community. The incident of karbala goes much beyond the supreme sacrifice of Imam Hussain (A.S) and also teaches about humanity, truth, justice, tolerance and a life full of dignity.

Although the event of Karbala is a long narrative and extremely tragic, I will for the sake of respecting spatial limits, try to keep it simple and focus more on the philosophical aspect of it and the message it carries. I will discuss what little I have understood from the event of Karbala and leave the religious aspects of it for the learned scholars Ulmas of Islam....
By Hajira Bano Balkhang
The changing face of Ladakhi marriages
Leh, Wednesday, October 22, 2014 : Imagine lavish expenditures, loud crackers, the bustle of relatives of all sorts, glistening jewellery and huge piles of food. Welcome to the world of obscenely festive Indian marriages. Marriages here are synonymous with festivals; Indian marriages are often accompanied by adjectives such as boisterous and pompous. May be it is our way of celebrating the significant occasions of our lives in the most memorable and perfect way possible, but saying that it goes a little overboard wouldn’t be wrong.

Following suit, Ladakhi marriages too have taken a turn in the same extravagant direction. Although we do retain a traditional fervour in our marriages but the cost of maintaining the tradition has gone up several notches. The picture of parents anxiously counting expenditures and checking bank passbooks trying to figure out a way to get through the marriage smoothly is just too probable. Gone are the days when marriages were considered a sacred union of two souls; now it is more about the quality of clothes, lavishness of feasts and the amount spent on the marriages, all tending to inch towards the higher side. The idea of marriage has now disgustingly become that of a business deal between two families rather than a chance at making and cherishing new relations. Thankfully our society is yet to be counted among the ones nurturing dowry system as a much loved son, but that still doesn’t do anything to cover the fact that the expenditure incurred on marriages is no less than the ‘formal dowry’. This is just a path leading to strengthening of the roots of this much debated, much detested evil in the soil of our culture as well. And then sooner than we will realise, the girl child, who is as revered, as cherished in Ladakh as the boy child, will bear the brunt of a reputation that she never wanted or deserved; that of being a burden on her parents, of being a liability than an asset she is.

By Hajira Bano Balkhang
An audience with an Oracle
My first witness of a spirit-medium in her trance
Choglamsar, Friday, October 17, 2014 : She was chanting the invocation prayer of Gangs ri' lha brtsen, while ringing rhythmically a bell which she held in her left hand and a drum, damaru, in the right. The invocation was sung to induce the spirit to assume possession of her body....
By Tenzin Menkyi
Chorten: the landmark of Ladakh
Its evolution from a mound of dirt to a king’s burial tomb, to a religious monument
Leh, Friday, October 17, 2014 :

He had build 207 Stupas or chortens in Ladakh. When asked how many more he intended to build, he said: " I don’t have a target. But I can't build it alone anymore without other's help, I am too old to climb the top of  a Stupa to carve it". Well, to Ladakh's dismay, those were the last words Tsering Tundup Tsamskhangpa, Ladakh's stupa connoisseur, spoke on stupa. He passed away recently at the age of 90.

By Tenzin Menkyi
The first Ladakhi's expedition to Antarctica
Changspa, Leh, Friday, October 17, 2014 : At the pinnacle of the world of adventure sports, lies the ascent of Mt. Everest and close at it heels is a ski traverse to the geographic South Pole (Antarctica), which is equally challenging task than that of climbing Mt. Everest.

Logistically, it was certainly much more complex, coupled with the fact that cross country skiing, using Nordic Telemark skiing technique, faces some of the most hostile and inhospitable terrains and weather conditions in the world, while manually pulling sleds weighing around 80-100kg. The expedition involves active walking for 10-12 hrs each day, facing temperature from -20 to35 degrees with winds averaging 50knots with occasional gust and blizzards of 80-100knots covering a distance of over 200km to the geographic South Pole, where the base of US Amundson-Scott located.   ...
By Sonam Tamchos
Floral and Faunal Diversity of Ladakh
Thursday, August 21, 2014 : Ladakh, the northern most part of India, a region in Jammu & Kashmir covers more than 92000 Sq. Kms (more than 70%) geographical area of the state.  It is the highest inhabited plateau of the world known for its inaccessible remoteness and cold climatic conditions with human population approximately 150 000, is one of the least populated area in the Indian Subcontinent.  ...
The achey (good) winter days in Ladakh
Leh, Thursday, July 31, 2014 : In the media world where news is made often for facts that are stranger than fiction, a PIL against the newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating criminal breach of trust and seeking the whereabouts of the much elusive, utopian achey din. The amusing nature of the news notwithstanding had me wondering if we Ladakhis probably need to follow suit. We live in a place that remains untouched by the unholy shadows of development and the virgin beauty of which has people outside Ladakh viewing it as a living paradise for vacation. And yes maybe that is what it has been reduced to; a holiday destination for six months, or even less in some years. The rest of the time, which happens to be the raw, harsh winter season, the region seems to get buried somewhere in the unreachable corners of minds of both governance and people. The six months that see us trapped in the bubble of our own existence, cut off even from our own state, not to talk of the country or the world. Who do we hold accountable? Our immediate elected representatives, the state or the central government, just who among them will own up the responsibility?

For far too long the buck has been passing from one stakeholder to another with the people of Ladakh being reduced to helpless spectators in the whole scheme of things. We seem to have understood and accepted the annual ‘routine’ in the run up to the ‘hibernation season’ if I may put it. For the rest of the country, hibernation might be a word often used to tease each other for being lazy, but for us it is an enforced way of living, not even a valid choice. Very ironically, we have accommodated into the neglect that seems to be a special gift of governance to us. The Centre ensures that its armed forces are well supplied while the state and local government scrambles to get resources to ‘build the stock’ for the winter. It almost comically reminds me of the story of the ant and the grasshopper, and their attitudes towards storing things for winter. Looks like we are neck deep in grasshoppers! Ladakh is being administered in this ‘ad hoc’ manner since India gained independence. Living in distant dreamland has its curse I guess. What else explains the longing we Ladakhis have for the summer that quite matches the longing of a Ladakhi mother waiting for her son to come back home after completing his education outside, separated by years of painful loneliness.   

By Hajira Bano Balkhang
With prayers for the oppressed in Palestine, Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr at Leh
Leh, Thursday, July 31, 2014 : After keeping fast in the Holy month of Ramazan, and like in all parts of the world Eid ul Fitr was celebrated by the muslim community of Leh on 29 August 2014 at Imam Bargah Leh and Eidgah Leh under leadership of Sheikh Abdul Qasim and Hafiz Ghulam Mohammad, Imam Jamia Masjid Leh.

With violence and killings in Palestine escalating at an alarming rate, the Muslims of Leh like their brethren the world over, expressed solidarity with the sufferings of the people of Palestine and also with those fighting oppression and tyranny anywhere else on the globe irrespective of religion. They offered special prayers for the people of Palestine for their sufferings and general peace in the region and elsewhere.

This day is celebrated with all traditional festivity and with great enthusiasm. People participated in the Eid prayers and prayed for the innocent victims of Iraq, Syria and Gaza, an end to Zionist regime and freedom of Majid Al Aqsa and expressed solidarity with the oppressed people of Gaza. Signifying the fact that Eid brings with it the message of peace and brotherhood both the leaders prayed for the welfare of all humanity particularly for the maintenance of peace and a sense of belonging and unity among all the communities of Ladakh, which has since ages set an example of communal harmony to the whole world....
By Hajira Bano Balkhang
Colloquial hampers in learning Classical Language
Leh, Friday, July 25, 2014 : Bhoti language was formed in 7th century in Tibet by Thunmisambhota. Throughout Tibet it is known as Tibetan language. The term Bhoti is given by Himalayan scholars and it has been spoken by people of Himalayan region from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh. From many years we are seeking recognition from the Government to include this language in the 8th Schedule. Bhoti language originated from Sanskrit language. Sanskrit language was one of the most crucial languages of ancient India. Lord Buddha preached his sermon mostly in Sanskrit language.

Nalanda University was one of the biggest universities in ancient India and many Indian scholars graduated from this university.  Five major and minor educations were taught in the University. The medium of instruction was Sanskrit language. Buddhist texts were also written in Sanskrit but later many of them got translated into Tibetan. So, in India’s point of view it is a very important language. Tibetan or Bhoti language was derived from Sanskrit language. There are fourteen vowels and thirty six consonants in Sanskrit language.

Only four vowels and twenty four consonants were taken from Sanskrit language including ‘Aa’ which is a vowel in Sanskrit but put it in consonant in Bhoti. In addition six more letters of consonants in Tibetan was found from Tibet itself and finally there are thirty consonants and four vowels. After inventing the alphabets of Bhoti language Thunmisambhota wrote eight main Tibetan grammar books but due to constant changes in the Tibetan society six of them were lost forever. The remaining two are Sumchupa and Takjuk.  Likewise we have another grammar books such as Dakyik which is very important for correct spell writing.  Those grammar books have great significance in translating or writing classical Tibetan from seven century to the present. Therefore, we have to learn those grammar books for the preservation of our great culture and language.

By Sonam Paljor
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