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Forum revived to preserve culture, language of Ladakh

The aim of reforming the prestigious forum was to make it more inclusive by involving all local stakeholders to work for the revival, preservation, and promotion of Ladakh’s rich cultural heritage, said Sonam Wangchuk who has been nominated general secretary of the forum.

SNS | Jammu |

One of Ladakh’s oldest civil societies, Ladakh Cultural Forum, has been reformed to safeguard Ladakh’s cultural identity.

Ladakh Cultural Forum was founded in 1976 by scholars and artists of Ladakh. The aim of reforming the prestigious forum was to make it more inclusive by involving all local stakeholders to work for the revival, preservation, and promotion of Ladakh’s rich cultural heritage, said Sonam Wangchuk who has been nominated general secretary of the forum.

Mipham Otsal, Director, Ladakh Theater Organization (LTO) was unanimously appointed President, and Sonam Wangchok, founder secretary, Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation (HCHF), was appointed general secretary along with many other members in executive and advisory committees.

Wangchok said that to revive and preserve Ladakh rich culture based on the ten sciences or fields of study categorized into two groups, major and minor fields, secretaries for each science were also appointed.

The five major fields of study are Philosophy (nang don rigpa), Logic and epistemology (tshadma rigpa), Grammar and Literature (sgra rigpa), medicine (gsowa rigpa), and arts and Crafts (gzo rigpa). The five minor fields of study are astronomy and astrology (skar rtsis rigpa), poetry (snyan ngag rigpa), rhetroric (sdeb sbayor rigpa), lexicography (mngon brjod rigpa) and drama and dance (zlos gar rigpa).

Wangchok highlighted different initiatives undertaken by the forum since 1976 and termed it as Ladakh’s largest association consisting of scholars, artists, NGOs, village societies, students, and individuals working in the field of cultural preservation in Ladakh.

“Strengthening Ladakh Cultural Forum by involving all local stakeholders is the need of the hour to protect Ladakh’s cultural heritage from all kinds of threats and challenges,” said Wangchok.

Mipham Otsal said that it has become important for all the cultural societies of Ladakh to work unitedly for the cause of protecting Ladakh’s cultural identity. He said the indigenous language is the root of the culture and that needs to be strengthened by inculcating interest in youth for their mother tongue. Otsal assured that Ladakh Cultural Forum will lead from the front to make sure that Ladakh’s rich culture will be preserved and handed over to the coming generation.

Secretary, Grammar and Literature (sgra rigpa), Thupstan Nurboo stressed on feeling pride of ones own language. He suggested several ways forward for Ladakh Cultural Forum and cultural societies of Ladakh to attract children to learn their indigenous language and feel the pride of it.

Advisor, Ladakh Cultural Forum, Thupstan Paldan expressed concern about the changing behavior of local people due to a “self-centered” mindset. He advised Ladakhis to revive traditional values and systems to ensure sustainable development.

Chairman of the meeting, Morup Namgyal, Padamshree awardee, highlighted the values of traditional folk songs and music and advised cultural societies of Ladakh to work closely with Ladakh Cultural Forum to organize workshops and awareness programmes to educate people about the importance of culture and heritage.

Lobzang Nyantak, Vice President of Ladakh Cultural Forum, appealed to the people of Ladakh to respect the mother tongue and feel proud of speaking it.