In the era of globalisation of cultures, which turns people across civilizations into mirror images of one another, languages as representative of respective cultures are dealt a severe blow.
When we talk about preserving a culture and developing a region or place it depends on few people. Firstly, the head or leader of the village, secondly, the people and thirdly, the future generation. A leader can be anyone be it religious, political, family and many more. These are the three who are responsible for developing, preserving & promoting culture.
The reason we are known to the world today is because of our rich culture. In the 21st century, what I feel is people are not contributing in preserving it and it seems that they are enjoying the same old culture left by our ancestors. Our ancestors have taken both the development and culture together which is not happening these days.
If people say that they are educated today then the development should be hand in hand with the culture which is not happening.
It’s been 20 years since Hill Council has formed but our leaders have not thought deeply to develop and preserve it. The reality is when we look for any kind of policy we didn't find it neither on paper nor on the practical basis. Today if we ask Hill Council for any kind of policy on culture development and how much budget allotment is there for it. I don’t know what they will answer.
Otherwise, when we construct a road or anything, so many engineers work and plan for it and a lot of funds are also at their disposal.
It seems that there is no interest at all and if they would have an interest then today we should have a separate cultural wing and a policy in the name of culture. Overall, when we talk about society lack of interest is a matter of concern. I have never seen people protesting about preserving and promoting culture.
Now what we can do is we can focus on the younger generation. If we can create the interest in them I hope it will develop in future.
We need to encourage the younger generation about it in our own languages or else, our concern for culture will amount to nothing but a history.
First thing what we can do is we need to understand the importance of culture and if we do so we can create interest in them. Firstly we should target the leaders; if leaders develop the taste or interest in it then they can practically work for it. Today there is a blind development and we cannot differentiate between the pros and cons of neglecting this sector.
There is an absence of a comprehensive program for preserving or restoring cultural value handed on to us by our ancestors.
We have to have the foresight to see that opulence without culture and time for introspection leads to a shallow life, even a meaningless life. So the people of Ladakh should not think that giving up their own culture or spiritual path to adopt some new technology or Western culture is going to be the answer to their problems. That is not the way it works.
Tsewang Paljor, Special Officer, Cultural Academy, Leh: Our culture seems to be bearing the brunt of the onslaughts of modernization such that sooner than later they will be buried into oblivion, forgotten because they are no longer visible and eventually even unheard of. For Ladakhis not to remain as “caricatures or photocopies”, one must be firmly rooted in one's own language even while becoming conversant with the global language.
The paradox of our culture is that it is intangible which cannot be seen. The whole concept of culture is wrong in the society today. We all should understand what culture actually is?
Develop yourself on all levels, the material and the spiritual. Simply broaden your education. Merely learn and keep up with the modern developments in the world. But there is no need to become so influenced by it that you should feel that you need to give up your own culture, your own values, or your own spiritual practices in the name of progress.
Development should be in tandem with the culture which is not happening. For eg. The council building is a blunder. They have invited consultant from outside Ladakh when we already have so many engineers in Ladakh who know exactly how to design it.
In LAHDC Council Act, it is written that LAHDC is responsible for promotion of langauges and culture of the area. Today it been 20 years and the irony is that we didn’t even start thinking about it. There is a big loophole somewhere.
Look at the administrative setup today. They do not look culture as a sector. On the other hand, they talk so big about the human resource. In general council, we have submitted the resolution but till today, we did not get any minutes of the meeting. In district plan, the total fund is ₹ 8 lac out of that there is not a penny for culture sector. For other sectors, there are many schemes then why not on the cultural aspect.
Another example of distancing ourselves from culture is that in the general council meeting, there's a hue and cry for the subsidy on the cow but there is no discussion on developing culture. When we talk about Vision document there is only a paragraph on Art, Culture & language.
The seeming apathy and lack of concern of the government and the public in general about the deteriorating state of our culture is a worrisome today.
Look at the life of our ancestors; a life with values and the modern shallow life, there’s a big difference between the two. If we get so much from our own culture then the question is why we rule out it. I don’t understand? Until today whatever culture we have developed or preserved is because of tourism as we have to promote the Industry. Otherwise, the industry will fall down. Over 70% of the industry is dependent on tourism but people who are directly related to it didn’t think about developing it.
When we talk about education today we talk about wholesome education. Our traditional education system is better than anyone. Remaining fixed in the true principles of your own indigenous culture, which has gone on for thousands of years, is often the means of keeping social problems to a minimum. But that also means staying educated in what your culture actually teaches and handing that knowledge down to younger generations so that it never becomes lost. This culture has given some of the most profound knowledge and deepest insights and understanding of life that mankind has ever known. It has existed for thousands of years.
Then, why we do not understand the importance of culture. His Holiness also stresses on preserving culture. His Holiness always says that ee should never compromise on culture. We should not lose our identity as Ladakhis.
Then why are we not investing in it?
Therefore, we have every reason to value what you already have and continue practicing it.
What can be done?
• A policy should be framed
• To set up a Cultural wing
• To appoint one Executive Councillor for Art,Culture & languages
• To create interest among the younger generation
• To develop Bhoti language
• To impart Bhoti Language in School and to make it compulsory
• To impart moral education in Schools
• Awareness camp on Culture
• Policies should be there at mini and micro level
• Investment should be there on Culture
• Make people aware about the benefit of Cultural heritage and to develop interest in People
• To organise debates and discussions on culture.