LEH, April 24 (1985): India-The malevolence of sectarian politics has finally caught up with Ladakh, the Shangri-La up in the Himalayan Mountains where time has stood still for centuries.
Virtually inaccessible a decade ago, arctic-like Ladakh long had been a sequestered model of cultural and political tranquility, where Buddhists and Moslems lived together in rustic harmony and where sectarian and regional differences were as scarce as the vegetation that struggles for life at rarefied altitudes of 15,000 feet and more.
But now, after a spirited election campaign for the region’s one seat in the Indian Parliament, a new political assertiveness has emerged along religious lines. By outward appearances, Ladakh remains as phlegmatic as ever, but sectarian tensions simmer beneath the surface, and regional rivalry is noticeably on the increase.
The phenomenon calls into question-in this case, at least-the conventional wisdom that what is known in India as communal conflict is an outgrowth of pressures from overcrowding, poverty, despair and the social constraints of the caste system.
(For complete story write to firstname.lastname@example.org)