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Welcome TISS LAHDC Ladakh Project

Ladakh: Background and Context

Ladakh has always been called the crossroads of High Asia – a place where East meets West, and where weary travelers on the Silk Route paused for a brief respite from their perilous journey in days gone by. Isolated from the rest of the world for much of its existence before it was thrown open to mass tourism in the mid-1970s, the region is caught in a whirlwind of change today. Today however, Ladakh itself stands poised at a metaphorical crossroad in its own history, and it must forge a new direction for its future generations. As new lifestyles, practices and social mores enter the Ladakhi community against a backdrop of centuries’ old indigenous traditions and culture, uncertainty and confusion reign supreme in the minds of the region’s local populace. To remedy this situation, there is a need to evolve a framework that allows Ladakhi people to seamlessly integrate the old with the new.

There is an increasing realization now that Development is more than just offering technocratic solutions to ‘problems’ perceived by ‘experts’. It is moving into the complexities and dynamics of rural communities and exploring the benefits of multi-stakeholder analysis, democratic decision making, indigenous technology and local knowledge (and so on) and is seeking to encourage local mechanisms and solutions evolved ( and owned) by the people. Instruments like the 73rd CAA (1992), concept of ‘Local Area Planning’ in the guidelines for developing 5 – year Plans, most CSSs, J&K PR Act (1989) and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Act (1995) aim at enhancing the relevance and effectiveness of development process through creation of more space for local initiatives and devolution of functions to grassroots.

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