What does your travel company do?
We take people for mountaineering and trekking. LWTC is the first travel agency in Ladakh solely operated by women.
How did you set up the enterprise?
Experience, love for the mountains, hard work and my stint as a tour guide helped me. I wanted to help Ladakhi women financially.
How did you prepare for it?
To improve my skills as a guide, I did a mountaineering course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and studied at the National Outdoor Leadership School.
You’re the first Ladakhi to work as an instructional aide at the National Outdoor Leadership School....
Yes, I received financial support, but had my heart in the right place.
Were you always fond of the outdoors?
I'd accompany my father to the mountains to hunt for animal fodder. I’ll always love them.
Is it common among Ladakhi women to access the mountains?
They don’t work as guides despite great knowledge of the terrain.
What challenges did you have to face while training people?
Gaining command over English and local dialects.
What kind of growth have you registered?
In four years, we have grown from three to 22 employees. After being featured in Guardian and BBC, we started getting foreign clients too.
How do you manage the off-season?
We are experimenting with organic farm products that can be sold in winter.
What do you expect from the government?
We want to educate Ladakhi women about their rights in terms of inheritance, separation, sexual crimes etc. Ladakh is cut off during winter and there are issues with internet access and electricity. The government needs to help.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Very proud of you and wishing you and the rest of the staff all the best!
Looking forward my visit to Ladakh in very near future.
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