Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Outlook.com

What Does Ladakh Want?

What Does Ladakh Want?
What Does Ladakh Want? Photograph by PTI

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 larger trend. It cannot allow its political aspirations to be driven by external motivations, which seems easier, but is not an ideal choice, for it will amount to exposing its political bankruptcy.

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