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At Leh symposium intellectuals call for protection Ladakh’s cultural heritage

The symposium was held on the second death anniversary of famous scholar and historian Tashi Rabgais, a scholar of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism  who belonged to the Union Territory of Ladakh.

Statesman News Service | Jammu |

Leh symposium: A call was made at a symposium to conserve Ladakh’s cultural heritage against all kinds of threats and challenges. The symposium was held on the second death anniversary of famous scholar and historian Tashi Rabgais who belonged to the Union Territory of Ladakh.

Tashi Rabgais was a scholar of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. He commanded great expertise over the Bhoti language. Rabgais has many books to his credit. He had a collection of more than 200 folk songs.

The daylong symposium was organised by the Ladakh Cultural Forum at the Dharma Centre in Leh to commemorate the 96th birth anniversary as well as the second death anniversary of Tashi Rabgais.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sonam Wangchok, president of the Ladakh Cultural Forum, highlighted a number of the organisation’s efforts since 1976 to preserve the cultural heritage of the region. He referred to it as one of the largest associations in Ladakh comprising academics, artists, NGOs, village societies, students, and anyone engaged in Ladakh’s field of cultural preservation.

To conserve Ladakh’s cultural heritage, Dr. Wangchok stated that it was the need of the hour to strengthen the Ladakh Cultural Forum by incorporating all local stakeholders, especially the youth of Ladakh. He said it is crucial for all Ladakh’s cultural societies to work together to safeguard the region’s unique identity.

The indigenous language, Dr. Wangchok said is the root of the culture and that needs to be strengthened by inculcating interest in youth for their indigenous language. He assured that the Ladakh Cultural Forum will lead from the front to make sure that the region’s rich cultural heritage will be preserved and handed over to the coming generation.

In his paper, Padmashree Morup Namgyal emphasised the morals included in Tashi Rabgais’ songs, and advised Ladakh’s youth to study the history and culture of the region through Tashi Rabgais’ works. Tashi Rabga’s contributions to Ladakh’s history, society, language, and literature were discussed by senior scholars of Ladakh, including Dr. Jamyang Gyaltsen, Nawang Tsering, Ven. Thupstan Paldan, and Tsewang Dorjey Dongbos.

Dr. Jamyang Gyaltsen appreciated the Ladakh Cultural Forum’s initiative to encourage youth of Ladakh to take ownership of their cultural heritage and feel proud of it, particularly during this time of rapid change and transition. He also expressed his delight to see many young people discussing Ladakh culture and identity.

The theme “Tashi Rabgais, an inspiration for youth of Ladakh” was also covered by other young Ladakhi speakers, including Dr. Stanzin Mingyur from CIBS Leh, Dr. Phuntsog Angmo from the Department of History, University of Ladakh, Ph.D candidate Tsering Dolker, Acharya Phurbu Zangpo, and Dr. Tsewang Gyaltsen. A number of songs written and composed by Tashi Rabgais were sung during the symposium by well-known singers and musicians from Ladakh headed by renowned Ladakhi singer Tundup Dorjay Stakmo.

Eminent Ladakhi scholars and artists, professors and students from the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (Deemed to be a university), the History Department of the University of Ladakh led by Dr. Rinchen Dolma, members of civil societies, Tashi Rabgais trust members, and independent researchers all attended the symposium. Rigzin Angchuk and Ven. Tsering Chosphel served as the sessions’ moderators.

Ven. Lobzang Nyantak, vice-president of the Ladakh Cultural Forum, urged the people of Ladakh to respect and acknowledge the current generation of scholars and artists for their outstanding contribution to preserving Ladakh’s rich cultural heritage.

Ladakh Cultural forum is one of Ladakh’s oldest associations, founded in 1976 by scholars and artists of Ladakh headed by Tashi Rabgais. Its mission is to promote and preserve Ladakh’s rich cultural legacy.