New Ladakh Movement: In quest for Change in Ladakh

By Zainab Akhter Leh, Feb 11, 2014
Leh :
Social media in contemporary times has emerged as a platform that reflects the good, bad and ugly truths of the society. But most of the times it is been used for the manifestation of discontent regarding a specific issue. Social networking in Ladakh which was leisure for a few is a thing of the past as internet cafes, as well as the availability of internet on mobile, has made networking an easy medium to be abreast with the outside world. This wave has especially attracted the youth of the region and it can be gauged by the snowballing of the number of pages dedicated to Ladakh in many different subcategories.

New Ladakh Movement (NLM) was born out of a discussion on one such page and after many threads of comments and counter-comments about the need of a new wave of freshness in the politics of Ladakh, few volunteers held a meeting on 21 December 2013 in Delhi on the possibility of such a movement. Although NLM is fast catching the fancy of everyone on networking site and people are flocking in to join but its course of the path can be charted only after the success of the regional conventions, participant strength and after taking on board students with a difference of opinion. According to the first meeting, there will be consultative pre-conventions meets in different cities and at the end a mega- youth convention to launch NLM formally, unless the participants in the pre-convention meets decide not to do so.  Thus If the youth of Ladakh give a mandate to the convention than it will be carried forward or if not as one of the supporters of the movement said then it is not the right time to talk about change in Ladakh.

If carried forward, under NLM twenty-six highly dedicated youth leaders from Leh and Kargil will be chosen by the people of the respective constituencies and they will be imparted training at the regional, national and international level in order to bring change in the grassroots level politics. They will fight for the counsellor seat from their respective region in the upcoming Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) elections in Leh (2015) and Kargil (2018).
The birth of NLM comes at a time when a social movement against corruption in the capital city of India has made way to an altogether a new kind of politics winning hearts and taking everyone along. Therefore a few see it as a replica of  Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)  and a means to grab a political berth in Ladakh but this comparison can be seen optimistically and it can work in favour of the movement itself.

Irrespective of the success or failure of NLM, one thing we all will agree is the need for a change and freshness in the political system of Ladakh be it Kargil or Leh. Due to nepotism and corruption, the youth are drifting out and settling down for other alternative jobs far from home. NLM is providing an opportunity for the youth to change the rules of the game and make a difference. Gauging by the popularity it’s gaining among the youth of the region there is a fair chance that this movement will see the light of the day. On the other hand, if the people who are associated with it or will join in future with a preconceived notion of using NLM for political and other gains then the basic aim of cleansing the dirty political scenario will be withered away and the movement itself will lose its credibility.

It is a popular belief in Ladakh that the youth of the region does not show interest in the politics of the region. NLM is providing a platform to attract them to politics of a different kind, making them agents of change. As Gandhi rightly said be the change you want to see in the world so this can be the opportunity to bring such a change. Sonam Wangchuk who was instrumental in starting this movement in a message to the youth of the region said “I am sure there are many bright ones among you from Leh and Kargil doing great things in different parts of the country, well your time to contribute to your motherland and your people might just have arrived. We would carry out an exercise to suggest such young people in whom we see potential to lead Ladakh. Let’s join hands and take this once in a lifetime, once in a century opportunity to take Ladakh to a height we never imagined. And not just Ladakh, I am quite sure if we get our act together, the accomplishments of Ladakh will inspire the youth of India and neighbouring countries for a revolution of sorts”.

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