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Stanford University

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


Ladakh hosts a mixed population of Buddhists and Muslims that belies its popular image as a solely Buddhist replica of Tibet. Despite its unique history of religious integration, new pressures linked to globalisation are pulling the communities apart, with occasional and previously unheard-of communal conflict breaking out in recent decades. Through a comparison of historical and primary sources alongside first hand observation, this project traces the effects of external religious forces, the communal style of Indian politics, and the pressures of ‘development’ upon the local reality of religious coexistence in Ladakh. Despite the largely harmonious environment, it is clear that the foundations of a common Ladakhi identity are being undermined in favour of increasingly communalist, religious definitions of self. As well as providing an insight into the contemporary face of religion in the region, the Ladakhi situation offers a framework through which to examine the role of globalised forces upon the cohesiveness of local communities.


Buddhist Studies | Islamic Studies | Religion


Article Location