The people of Ladakh live in very high mountain valleys between the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Ladakhi economy has traditionally been based on small farms and on herding, but since the 1970s, tourism and other outside sources of income have also become available. These economic changes have tended to weaken traditional patterns of village cooperation, causing difficulties for farmers who have a hard time paying for assistance. In addition, climate change has created further strains on traditional subsistence practices.
The Ladakhi strongly disapproved of public displays of anger, disharmony, or discontent. They idealize a peaceful, united, harmonious community, free of conflict and anger. These beliefs likely play a role in the their continued acceptance of globalization. However, many Ladakhis feel it is also important to preserve their cultural heritage for future generations. The videos here address a number of these current issues the Ladakhi are facing. For additional information please see the news and reviews and encyclopedia of this website.
“In Focus: Tourism verses Tradition in Ladakh” (5:55): Produced by the Foreign Exchange, this video explores the impact of increasing tourism on Ladakhi society. Because of its pristine landscape and cultural attributes this region is sought after by tourists from around the globe. However, some of the very things that people are seeking are actively changing due to the impact of tourism on the local economy as well as globalization due to outside contact.
“Living with Change: Voices from Ladakh, India,” Parts 1 (9:10) and 2 (9:58): World Wildlife Fund video explores the impact of climate change on Ladakh. This process is more than obvious to those who live in the region. For several decades now they have watched as glaciers diminish and weather patterns have become unpredictable. As a result, many Ladakhis have been forced to adapt to these changes as best they can. From tourism to subsistence, no part of Ladakhi society has gone untouched by climate change.
“Himalayan Heritage: Ladakh, India” (7:54): Produced by the Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation, this video places an emphasis on Ladakhi and Himalayan culture and efforts to insure its continuation. As modernization ensues, they remind the people of Ladakh that while change is inevitable, it is also possible to preserve their traditions.