Other ethnic identities here are Dogras, Punjabis, Paharis and Ladakhis
. Gujjars are of a distinct ethnic stock: they are Muslims but have as much emotional affinity with Hindu Gujjars in the rest of India as with non-Gujjar Muslims of the state.
have sacrificed their lives for India in all the wars - 1948, 1962, 1965, 1971 and in 1999, yet there was equality in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
This after Indian President Ram Nath Kovind last Monday issued a decree revoking the 1954 order to 'integrate' Kashmiris (and Ladakhis
) with the rest of India - almost seven decades after the state of Jammu and Kashmir came into being under the special provision.
Having taken on both manmade and natural challenges, Wangchuk has improved the lives of thousands of Ladakhis
. Crediting it all to teachers, students, leaders and dreamers in Ladakh, he says, "There's a need to find innovative and indigenous solutions to problems.
Tourism, however, was not a major source of income to most Ladakhis
in the early and mid-20th century.
"Let us make it clear to them that it is not a question of any particular community or religion but the entire Jammu and Kashmir including Jammu, Ladakh, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan," said Mirwaiz, adding that "We are fighting for rights of all including Kashmiris, Dogras, Ladakhis
, Paharis, Gujjars and Kashmiri Pandits."
LAST month's furore over Chinese intrusion hasn't shocked the Ladakhis
, for whom it's a routine experience.
From the radiant smiling faces of traditional Ladakhis
in northern India, the film switches to familiar images of our western lifestyle: manicured Barbie dolls staring down over clogged freeways; overloaded supermarket trolleys; and sterile shopping centres.
As far as the Indus valley is concerned, the boundary between Lower and Upper Ladakh in the self-understanding of the Ladakhis
today is to be found in the sandy hills between Snyemo and Leh.
The various fractions in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, Kashmiri Muslims, Kashmiri Pundits, Dogras, and Ladakhis
, have tried time and again to form a national consciousness in order to name its cultural alterity through the nation, as "Kashmiriyat." The construction of "Kashmiriyat" involved culling selected cultural fragments by Kashmiri nationalists from an imagined past that would enfold both the Pandits and the Muslims.
I discovered that even Ladakhis
so small in stature that they were at eye level with my hipbones possessed the instinct of interconnectedness.