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Thursday, August 8, 2019

beautiful Ladakh, the new UT and the speech of its young MP

Our sad plight is We read distorted history and now do not know anything of our ancient land ! ~ and our knowledge of Geography is so poor, that we have not heard or know many parts of this great land !!
Lhachen Bhagan was a Basgo king who united these parts of the Nation in 1470 by overthrowing the king of Leh. He took on the surname Namgyal (meaning victorious) and founded a new dynasty which still survives today.  King Tashi Namgyal (1555-1575) managed to repel most Central Asian raiders, and built a royal fort on the top of the Namgyal Peak. Tsewang Namgyal temporarily extended his kingdom as far as Nepal.  The place in winter is a world apart. In its capital city,  all the tourist shops are shut, just local markets are open. We are unlikely to identify this place – it is in news now – most searched and most spoken of .. .. ‘Ladakh’.

                        Tsering Namgyal, 34, is a first-time Lok Sabha member. He earlier served as a council in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, and as the state media secretary of the BJP.  Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, a young lawmaker of BJP  from Ladakh made a passionate intervention in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday during the debate on abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. Namgyal’s speech in the lower house focused largely on criticizing the Congress party for not doing enough for Ladakh region when it was in power before.

“I am very glad that a lot of people referred to Ladakh, Leh and Kargil in their speeches but I want to know that do they really know what Ladakh is ? In the last seven decades, Ladakh was not embraced, it was thrown in one corner and there were statements in this House that it was that land where not one speck of grass grows," he said while beginning his speech in the House.

            “We have struggled for 71 years to make Ladakh a union territory and to be a part of India. The earlier governments gave us no audience and never tried to understand us. Under Kashmir, our development, our political aspiration, our identity, our language – if all of this got lost it is because of Article 370 and the Congress party is responsible for that," he added. Across Monday and Tuesday, India's arid mountainous desert region—Ladakh—was granted an identity that now sets it apart geographically, administratively and demographically.

Ladakh this week -  is a proposed union territory of India. It extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the main Great Himalayas to the south and is inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent.[it is  sparsely populated with its  culture and history closely related to that of Tibet. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys (now mostly in Pakistan), the entire upper Indus Valley, and much much more.  Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet  as also Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north. There is another place of strategic importance ‘Aksai chin’.. .. in the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes, but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders with Tibet and Central Asia in the 1960s, international trade has dwindled except for tourism. Since 1974, the Government of India has successfully encouraged tourism in Ladakh. Indian military maintains a strong presence in the region.

The largest town in Ladakh is Leh, followed by Kargil.  There had been calls from Leh in recent times asking  Ladakh to be constituted as a union territory because of perceived unfair treatment by Kashmir and Ladakh's cultural differences with predominantly Muslim Kashmir.  Mr Amit Shah in bifurcating the state of Jammu and Kashmir and scrapping special status granted to it, has created India's first Buddhist dominated union territory with a dominant Buddhist population of 1.33 lakh out of a total of 2.74 lakh.  The distinction is similar to that of Punjab which has a predominant Sikh population, which comprises 57.69% of its total population. However, like Chandigarh, Ladakh too will not have a legislative assembly and will fall directly under Central command—a move, which its population has gladly welcomed. Ladakhi Buddhists claimed that the state’s policies were Kashmir-centric policies and discriminated against them. “Kashmir and Ladakh have nothing in common,” a leader said. “If colleges were shut in Kashmir then they’d be shut in Ladakh too. All legislation in Kashmir was irrelevant to Ladakh.” Other Ladakhis said they never thought their demand would be met “so easily”.

Making an impassioned statement on the floor of the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament (MP) from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal pointed out how the region had been left out of all development initiatives so far, despite pleas by its Buddhist population to past Indian administrations.

"Today is that day in Indian history when the mistakes made by the Congress under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru are being rectified. In 1948, the president of the Ladakh Buddhist Association had requested Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to either bring Ladakh directly under central administration or make it a part of East Punjab, but under no condition keep Ladakh with Kashmir. But the government at the time didn’t even listen to us. And because we are under Kashmir, till date Ladakh has not been developed," Namgyal said.

The speech of the young MP from Ladakh has been so appreciated that it is going viral in every media.  All these augurs well for the Nation.

With regards – S Sampathkumar
7th Aug 2019.

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