Monday, 4 June 2012

Mr.Tsultim Dorjay

Mr.Tsultim Dorjay
                                 ( On His research   'Kinship and  Marriage system of Ladakh' )

Yes one reason for the Polyandry system of marriage in Ladakh was due to scarcity of cultivable land in Ladakh , but question that Mr.Tsultim raises to the audience is why we had less cultivable land despite having so much free land ... Lets here it from himself ..... 

Firstly, younger Ladakhis must have/note collection of such discussions/talks as it would benefit them(Speak Ladakh) in future when they can not only study on other different problems but also make critical analysis of the studies/researches already done. After all no theory is permanent/accurate and one can no doubt work on previous researches, literature, history, etc. Such discussions would be equally beneficial for SPEAK LADAKH also as SL knows their objectives very well and can compile discussions into some drafts and proceed with same objectives. I am thankful to fellow researchers for enlighting us with borders issues in Ladakh as I didn't know that social issues found on Indo-Pak borders in Punjab and Kashmir (excluding Ladakh) are existing in Ladakhi villages on Pakistani borders also; appreciate fellow researcher working on problems like depleting water table is also appreciable.

Secondly, I am working on Kinship and Marriage system of Ladakh and shall put light on the polyandry system on Ladakh as it has been an integral part of our marriage system. While collecting data for my research, I came across many households who still practice polyandry. It was something I did not expect as most in Ladakh are of the view that polyandry is nonexistent in Ladakh now. Polyandry no doubt has weakened and lost its ground a lot in Ladakh also but only because of both push and pull factors. Push factors like the local gossips, looking down upon the people practicing polyandry, health issues, etc. and pull factors like interaction with the modern world and enbracing modernization, acculturation with other social behaviours from other regions, education, etc. played very important role in weakening of polyandry in Ladakh. But polyandry should not be looked down upon as it has been a traditional marriage system of Ladakh for centuries. Although it can not be encouraged in today's world as there are legal, health and other concerns which states polyandry as not a health marriage system in today's world, one need not to be ashamed of polyandry being an integral part of traditional Ladakhi marriage system. One of my respondents who was posted in Srinagar told me that she gets taunted by her colleagues as saying "Tum Ladakhi to apne devar ke sath bhi rihsta banate ho" and "tumhare to do do teen teen pati hotein hain". Here she should have had told him that this system in Ladakh was not because of one's own choice but because of natural/geographical condition and available resources of Ladakh which accordingly became a tradition. Ladakhis according to some earlier researchers had scarcity of cultivable land (economic factor) and to prevent fragmentation of such land into number of siblings polyandry was a good measure. It kept the household's economy intact for centuries. And my observation says that scarcity of cultivable land in Ladakh was because of local limits and not geographical limit. For example, even barren lands of Taru Thang, Likir thang, etc. bloomed into spectacular flower fields when it rained for continuous three days in 2006 or 2008 (not confirmed of the year) which shows that we don't have shortage of cultivable land. It is only that we should cultivate. Water management problem and local administration seem to be hurdles in getting these barren lands in Ladakh irrigated. Our kings have built thousands of stupas, hundreds of monasteries and castles but they lacked in building water channels, canals, aqueduct systems, etc. as otherwise more land could have been irrigated and picture of Ladakh would have been greener and more prosperous. Indus, streams, etc. flows down without irrigating much. Kargil is god example of aqueduct system. Suru valley becomes lush in summers as there are aqueducts built on high cliffs also and barren lands got irrigated. Can't it be done in Leh? Singay Namgyal's reign in known as Golden era. I ask how, what did he do for the people of Ladakh? Should we really call it a golden period or press shift plus delete button from the chronicle of Ladakh? 

Thirdly, I would like to draw your attention towards the careless/derogatory remarks made my different authors/researchers on Ladakhis. One such author calls Ladakhis as the 'ugliest'. I believe that no one (researchers in particular) have right to judge anyone from his/her physical appearance. He/she can't call someone beautiful and other ugly as it is only the beauty contests that claims to be picking up beautiful people through some contests. No constitution/law gives liberty to refer somebody ugly. It is so depressing for many who reads that his people are painted in such a way to any reader. Other author regarding Ladakhi food writes that it is not nutritious/healthy. Whereas if I am to correct her, let me bring to her notice that according to a research, Japanese have the highest life expectancy and most credit goes to their healthy food behaviour. Their food is either boiled or steamed. And very interestingly, Ladakh's traditional menu are also either boiled or steamed. Frying, etc. were adapted from other regions of the country. My consciousness here is not to criticize anyone pertaining to food in particular but to request authors not to write something they do not know well or have no ground reality. I am going to publish my thesis and shall strictly criticize where and what I feel needed to be. Being researchers we can not express our views like the extremists do or in a  well organized way NGO's do but can do in a intellectual's way in the form of writings like books,papers or thesis, etc. This will also bring into notice the problems.


Speak Ladakh thank Mr.Tsultim for sharing his views , we expect his comprehensive speech on the same issue in future as well .Mr.Tsultim is doing his research from JNU New Delhi can reach  him on